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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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Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is one of the most sophisticated and complicated joints of the body:

  • It has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body with complete global movement allowing you to position the hand anywhere in space. 
  • The coordinated activity of numerous muscles working together in set patterns is required to produce this motion
  • It is made up of FOUR joints and FIVE linked bone groups which are related and work together.
  • To allow so much movement the joints need to be 'free' to move, therefore the shoulder should be 'unstable' compared to other joints of the body; However a series of complex ligaments and muscle keep it in joint.

Because the shoulder is such a unique joint it is also prone to particular problems. In fact it would be more correct to call it the SHOULDER COMPLEX.
This section will hopefully explain some of the terminology you might hear and relate this to disorders of the shoulder complex. Understanding how the different layers of the shoulder are built and connected can help you understand how the shoulder works and is affected by injury and overuse. 

The deepest layer includes the bones and the joints of the shoulder.
The next layer is made up of the ligaments of the joints.
The tendons and the muscles come next.
The nerves supply all the stuctures above and make them work.

a structure (tissue) that attaches a muscle to a bone. When a tendon becomes inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendinitis or tendonitis.
a structure (tissue) that attaches a muscle to a bone. When a tendon becomes inflamed, the condition is referred to as tendinitis or tendonitis.
A tough band of connective tissue that connects two bones to each other. "Ligament" is a fitting term; it comes from the Latin "ligare" meaning "to bind or tie."

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