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Shoulder Anatomy

Patient Information
Shoulder Anatomy
Shoulder Muscles sectionShoulder Muscles
Shoulder AnatomyShoulder Anatomy
Bones & Joints of the ShoulderBones & Joints of the Shoulder
Shoulder LigamentsShoulder Ligaments
Shoulder TendonsShoulder Tendons
Nerves of the ShoulderNerves of the Shoulder
Shoulder BursaeShoulder Bursae
Glenoid LabrumGlenoid Labrum

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Nerves of the Shoulder

All of the nerves that travel down the arm pass through the axilla (the armpit) just under the shoulder joint and are known as the Brachial Plexus before dividing into the individual nerves. These nerves carry the signals from the brain to the muscles that move the arm. The nerves carry signals back to the brain about sensations such as touch, pain, and temperature.

The Brachial Plexus is made up of a large number of nerves that supply the arm with it's ability to function and feel. Nerve problems around the shoulder are rare, but the most commonly affected of these nerves are:

  1. Axillary Nerve - supplies the Deltoid muscle. Most commonly stretched with shoulder dislocations.
  2. Long Thoracic Nerve - supplies Serratus Anterior muscle and can cause Winging of the Shoulder
  3. Suprascapular Nerve - supplies supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles and can be entrapped or diseased
  4. Musculocutaneous Nerve - supplies the Biceps muscle and can rarely be injured at surgery

Brachial Neuritis (also known as Parsonage-Turners Syndrome) is an uncommon disease where the Brachial Plexus nerves are weakened, causing muscle wasting and weakness of the shoulder.

Top muscle and tendon of the rotator cuff. Abducts the arm. It is the tendon that is most often torn.
at the side or outer aspect
muscle and tendon of the rotator cuff. Externally rotates the arm. Lies between supraspinatus and teres minor.
joint comes out of it's socket completely

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