The shoulder is a complex joint and it has good mobility with fair stability. Due to the demands placed upon the joint, and its structural limitations, the shoulder is a common area of injury. Both acute trauma (occurring quickly and suddenly) and chronic overuse or repetitive movement can result in injury to the shoulder.

shoulder anatomyShoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint which relies mainly upon muscles and tendons for stability. The joint capsule holds it all together. The acromion process (a projection on the scapula or shoulder blade) covers the capsule from above and forms an arch that the tendons pass through. The four muscles of the rotator cuff, the pectoralis, the deltoid, the trapezius and the bicep and triceps muscles all surround the joint and control motion.



Shoulder Injuries
The common injuries to the shoulder include strains, capsule tears, bursitis, tendonitis, and separations or dislocations. Muscle strains can result from acute injury or chronic conditions and are often due to improper biomechanics or overuse. Rotator cuff injuries can be very debilitating and require immediate attention. R.I.C.E is the best immediate treatment. This includes rest, icing the injured area, compression and elevation. A physician evaluation is also recommended to determine the extent of the injury.


Bursitis and tendonitis are chronic conditions that usually result from overuse, improper body mechanics, or muscle imbalance. If the bursa sack or tendon becomes inflamed, it becomes more likely to rub (or impinge) under the acromion and the risk of a chronic injury increases. Education regarding proper body mechanics, and a good flexibility and strengthening program can help decrease injury risk.


Dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus comes out of contact with the glenoid fossa (the ball and socket become separated). A physician should be seen immediately. Proper treatment will prevent further injury to the surrounding tissue and will result in a faster recovery.


Good upper body strengthening and flexibility can reduce the risk of shoulder injuries from sports. The stronger and more flexible your joints, the more easily they are able to withstand impact or hold up under repetitive motions. A basic weight training and stretching program done three days per week is usually sufficient to maintain overall muscle integrity. You may also consider visiting a personal trainer for a sport-specific strength and flexibility routine.


Good cardiovascular conditioning also helps prevent injuries that occur as a result of fatigue. Using proper body mechanics is also essential. Here at Summit Rehab we specialize in orthopedic injuries, which include shoulders, and have the expertise you need in order to get back to proper health. Contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment today if you are experiencing shoulder pain.



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