The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body making it the most susceptible to instability and injury. It is a 'ball-and-socket' joint. A ‘ball' at the top of the upper arm bone, humerus, fits neatly into a 'socket’, called the glenoid, which is part of the shoulder blade, scapula.
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Pain in the shoulder suggests a shoulder injury which is more common in athletes participating in sports such as swimming, tennis, pitching and weightlifting. The injuries are caused due to the over usage or repetitive motion of the arms.
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Rotator Cuff Tear
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that cover and provide support to the shoulder joint, enabling wider range of motion. A tear in the rotator cuff is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals. It may occur with repetitive movements while working or playing sports, during motor accidents, lifting a heavy object or a fall on an outstretched arm.
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Various supporting structures aid in the smooth movement of the shoulder joint. The joint is held together and stabilized by a group of tendons called the rotator cuff. A fluid-filled sac called a bursa, located above the rotator cuff, helps in the frictionless movement of the shoulder. Shoulder impingement is one of the most common causes of pain in the adult shoulder.
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Arthritis of the Shoulder
The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Damage of the cartilage in the shoulder joint causes shoulder arthritis. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat and pain.
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Frozen shoulder is a painful shoulder condition that limits movement and causes stiffness in the joint. It is also called adhesive capsulitis and may progress to the state where you may find it very hard to move your arm. Frozen shoulder is more common in older adults between 40 and 60 years, and occurs more often in women than men.
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Shoulder instability is a chronic condition that causes frequent dislocations of the shoulder joint. A dislocation occurs when the end of the humerus (the ball portion) partially or completely dislocates from the glenoid (the socket portion) of the shoulder. A partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation whereas a complete separation is referred to as a dislocation.
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Acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) dislocation or shoulder separation is one of the most common injuries of the upper arm. It commonly occurs in athletic young patients and results from a fall directly onto the point of the shoulder. It involves separation of the AC joint and injury to the ligaments that support the joint. The AC joint forms where the clavicle (collarbone) meets the shoulder blade (acromion).
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Shoulder Joint Tear
The shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that enables the smooth gliding and thereby the movements of arms. However, it is inherently unstable because of the shallow socket. A soft rim of cartilage, the labrum lines the socket and deepens it so that it accommodates the head of the upper arm bone better.
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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
The thoracic outlet is a small passageway leading from the base of the neck to the armpit and arm. This small area contains many blood vessels, nerves and muscle. When this passageway becomes compressed the condition is termed as thoracic outlet syndrome. This rare condition is characterized by burning pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak hand grip.
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Playing more overhead sports activities and repeated use of shoulder at workplace may lead to sliding of the upper arm bone, the ball portion, from the glenoid–the socket portion of the shoulder. The dislocation might be a partial dislocation (subluxation) or a complete dislocation causing pain and shoulder joint instability.
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Shoulder Injuries in the Throwing Athlete
Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)
Clavicle fracture or broken collarbone is a very common injury associated with contact sports such as football and martial arts, as well as impact sports such as motor racing. A direct blow over the shoulder, fall on an outstretched arm or motor vehicle accident may also cause the clavicle bone to break. A broken clavicle causes difficulty in lifting your arm because of pain, swelling and bruising.
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Fracture of the Shoulder Blade (Scapula)
The scapula (shoulder blade) is a flat, triangular bone providing attachment to the muscles of the back, neck, chest and arm. The scapula has a body, neck and spine portion.
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The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of three bones, namely the humerus, scapula, and clavicle. The ends of all articulating bones are covered by smooth tissue called articular cartilage which allows the bones to slide over each other without friction enabling smooth movement.
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Shoulder Joint Replacement
The shoulder is a highly movable body joint that allows various movements of the arm. It is a ball and socket joint, where the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) articulates with the socket of the scapula (shoulder blade) called the glenoid. The two articulating surfaces of the bones are covered with cartilage, which prevents friction between the moving bones. The cartilage is lubricated by synovial fluid.
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