The shoulder is a very mobile joint that allows you to do many movements and turn your arms in many different directions. The joint is made up of three bones: humerus (upper arm bone), scapular (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). It is a ball and socket joint with the head of the humerus (ball) fitting into a socket in the shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid and it is kept centered by a ligament system called the rotator cuff. This cuff is a network of four muscles that come together around the head of the humerus and form a covering. The rotator cuff attaches to the humerus and the shoulder blade to help rotate and lift your arms.

Additionally, there is a ring of fibrous tissue around the glenoid, called the labrum. This helps to stabilize the shoulder joint and is an attachment point for many of the other ligaments and tendons in the shoulder.

Because it is used so much and is a very complex joint, the shoulder is often injured. Injuries can range from bursitis, tendonitis, sprains, strains, and dislocations, to rotator cuff tears and labrum tears. Fortunately, conservative treatments such as ice, rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroid joint injections, can help with many injuries to the shoulders. If your injury is severe and cannot be treated by conservative care, then your Provider may suggest a surgery to repair your shoulder.

Harvard University Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston Children's Hospital International Geriatric Fracture Society Dignity Health Banner Casa Grande Medical Center Rosalind Franklin University Maimonides Medical Center