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Shoulder Injuries and Disorders

Summary

Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Because your shoulder can be unstable, it can be easily injured. Common problems include

Health care providers diagnose shoulder problems by using your medical history, a physical exam, and imaging tests.

Often, the first treatment for shoulder problems is RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise and medicines to reduce pain and swelling. If those don't work, you may need surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
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Diagnosis and Tests

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  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Living With

  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (UpToDate)

Related Issues

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Specifics

  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Society for Surgery of the Hand)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American College of Rheumatology) Also in

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Merriam, KS, 6/27/2014
  • Video (BroadcastMed) - St. Francis Eastside Hospital, Greenville, SC, 07/10/2012
  • Shoulder joint dislocation Video (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Patient Handouts

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