Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder is a complex ball-and-socket joint that gives full movement of the arms, allowing patients to reach up high, down low and side to side.

It offers a wide range of motion, but also makes it vulnerable to injury.

At the shoulder, three major bones meet and create a 90-degree angle. These bones are —collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula) and the largest arm bone (the humerus)

Three joints are formed from the junctions of these three bones and the sternum. These joints are the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the sternoclavicular joint.

Each joint in the shoulder is surrounded by cartilage for padding, ligaments to connect the bones, muscles and tendons to attach the muscles to the bones.

How the shoulder works

To understand the functions, conditions and surgical procedures of the shoulder, Dr Biggs has included an interactive animated presentation.

The ball-shaped upper arm bone, (humerus), fits into the cup-like hollow of the top part of the shoulder bone (scapula).

The shoulder joint is surrounded by the capsule, a tough fibrous sleeve, which helps to hold the joint together. The synovium, the inner layer of the capsule, allows the joint to move smoothly by producing a fluid to nourish the cartilage and lubricate the joint.

The rotator cuff in the shoulder is made up of four muscles and their tendons, they control movement and help hold the joint together.

Common shoulder problems

As the shoulder is both exposed and complex it is vulnerable to:

  • Age related degradation
  • Sports injuries
  • Local trauma, and
  • Other diseases.

These problems include:

  • Fractures
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Shoulder Instability
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Osteoarthritis

Shoulder Treatments

Some patients with these shoulder conditions may require surgical intervention. Dr Biggs performs a range of surgeries that solve many shoulder problems; these include:

  • Shoulder Arthroscopy
  • Acromioplasty
  • Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Shoulder Instability Treatment
  • Shoulder Impingement Surgery
  • Shoulder Joint Replacement
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  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
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