Shoulder Joint – Due to the glenohumeral joint’s mobility, which makes the shoulder one of the human body’s most mobile joints, the shoulder is both anatomically and functionally complicated. The sternoclavicular joint, which joins the shoulder girdle to the axial skeleton, allows the upper limb to be attached to the body. Because of the shoulder’s large range of motion and low stability, it is vulnerable to injury and dislocation.

The sternum and the humerus form a ball and socket junction known as the shoulder complex (glenohumeral joint). The primary joint that joins the upper arm to the trunk is this one.

Due to the loss of joint stability, it is among the most movable joints within the human body.

Structures of the Shoulder Joint

Articulating Surfaces

The glenoid hollow (or fossa) of scapular and the tip of the humerus come together to form the shoulder joint. As a result, the shoulder joint is also known as the glenohumeral joint.

The articulating surfaces have hyaline cartilage coverings, like the majority of synovial joints. Due to the humerus’s head’s size relative to the glenoid fossa, the joint has a great range of motion but also comes with a built-in instability. A fibrocartilage rim known as the glenoid labrum deepens the glenoid fossa in order to lessen the disparity in surfaces.

Joint Capsule and Bursae

Joint capsules consist of fibrous sheaths around the joint’s structure.

In most cases, it also extends to the rim of the glenoid fossa, which is the border between the humerus and the glenoid bones. Due to its flexibility, mobility is increased (particularly abduction).

Synovial fluid is produced by the synovial membrane, which coats the innermost layer of the articular capsule and helps to lessen resistance between the joint cartilage.

There are a number of synovial bursae that help to minimise abrasion in the shoulder joint. Bursas are a sac filled with synovial fluid that serves as a divider for ligaments and other joint components.

Among the most important bursae from a clinical perspective are:

In the subacromial area, the supraspinatus tendon and joint capsule are located superficial to the deltoid and acromion. This bursa, which is found beneath the deltoid, allows the rotator cuff to move freely by reducing friction. Shoulder pain can be brought on by subacromial bursitis, which is an inflammation of the bursa.

The subscapular is situated between the scapula and the subscapularis tendon.

It reduces wear and tears on the tendon during movement at the shoulder joint.


The ligaments are essential for supporting the bony bones of the shoulder joint.

The glenoid fossa and humerus are connected by a collection of ligaments known as the ligaments of the glenohumerus , which together comprise articular cartilage. They support the shoulder in place and keep preventing it from moving anteriorly, serving as its primary source of stabilisation. They function to support the joint’s front end.

The larger tubercle of the humerus is joined to the cricoid cartilage at its base by the coracohumeral ligaments. In addition to supporting the joint capsule, it is also responsible for protecting the joint surface.

The transversal humeral tendon runs the length of the humerus between its two tubercles. This tendon holds the knee ligament in the intertubercular fissure.

Caraco clavicular ligament is it connects the collarbone to the scapula’s coracoid process and is made up of the trapezoidal and conoid tendons. Acromioclavicular ligaments keep the clavicle aligned with the scapula alongside the acromioclavicular ligaments. Although they are quite strong, acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) injuries can cause these ligaments to be torn by powerful pressures (such as those that result from a high-energy fall). An ACJ injury that requires surgical repair may require the repair of the coracoclavicular ligaments.

The other major ligament is the coracoacromial ligament. Running between the acromion and coracoid process of the scapula, it forms the coracoacromial arch.

Shoulder Joint Surgery

The broken bone is removed during a shoulder restoration and rebuilt with elements made of plastic and metal. The name of this procedure is shoulder arthroplasty. During shoulder movement, a ball and socket joint is used. The shoulder’s shallow socket accommodates the upper arm bone’s rounded head (ball). It is possible to suffer from pain, stiffness, and weakness as a result of joint damage.

There are several different forms and sizes of shoulder implants on the market. Utilizing anatomic or reverse implants, there are alternatives for partial and total restoration.

Surgery to replace the shoulder joint is performed to treat pain and other side effects brought on by shoulder joint deterioration.

Various circumstances can harm the joint, such as:

Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, affects the cartilage that protects the ends of bones and facilitates joint motion.

Damage to the rotator cuff. The muscles and ligaments that encircle the shoulder joint are collectively known as the rotator cuff. Oftentimes rotator cuff problems can harm the cartilage and the bones in the shoulder girdle.

Fractures. Depending on the severity of the accident or whether the previous surgery to treat the fracture fails, upper-end femur fractures may need to be replaced.

Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammation brought on by rheumatoid arthritis, which is brought on by an overactive immune system, can harm the cartilage and, rarely, the underlying tissue in the joint.

Osteonecrosis. The humerus’s ability to receive blood might be impacted by specific shoulder disorders. A bone that is blood-starved may crumble.

Ways to relieve shoulder discomfort

To relieve discomfort and promote healing in addition to shoulder exercises, try several natural therapies.

By giving your shoulder RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), you can heal it. Raise your shoulder above your heart as much as you can. A heating pad and an Epsom salt shower are additional options.

You can take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce discomfort. Or try natural painkillers like cloves, willow bark, or turmeric. Several times each day, apply an essential oil mix, arnica lotion, or menthol rub to the affected area.

Your body may achieve equilibrium and be pain-free with regular massages and acupuncture sessions. You can also attempt manipulative treatments like Rolfing, osteopathy, or chiropractic corrections.

Shoulder Joint Tests

Evaluation of Shoulder Pain

Your healthcare professional will start with a fundamental physical examination if you are experiencing a shoulder ache. They will enquire about your lifestyle, level of pain, and past medical history. A diagnosis will be made using these facts about your discomfort and the way it has evolved over time, in addition to the results of the testing.

Test Neer

Simple rules govern the Neer exam. Its goal is to detect shoulder impingement. Young and middle-aged persons are particularly susceptible to this kind of rotator cuff damage.

The Speed Test

The Speed test is a unique examination designed to detect tendinitis in your bicep. To the shoulder bone, the bicep muscle is attached by two tendons. Additionally, it contains one to join it to your forearm’s radius bone.

Test of Apprehension and Relocation

The disorder known as shoulder instability can result in a whole or partial dislocation of the shoulder. If your doctor believes it might be the source of your pain, they might administer an apprehension test.

Test of Sulcus

The sulcus test may also be carried out if your doctor feels you have shoulder instability. You just need to lay your hand down by the side to perform this test. Your caregiver grabs your elbow or wrist and lowers your arm.

Test of AC Joint Compression

The collar bone and the acromion, a section of your shoulder blade, come together to form the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Your shoulder’s top is where you’ll find it.

Test of Hawkins-Kennedy

An additional assessment for shoulder impingement is the Hawkins-Kennedy exam. Your elbow is bent approximately 90 degrees while your arm is raised by your healthcare professional. Your forearm is dropped as your elbow is elevated when you bring your arm in front of your body.

Test Can, Vacant

The Jobe test is another name for the empty can test. The scapular muscles, particularly the supraspinatus tendon on the side of the shoulder, are tested with this technique.

Frozen shoulder tests

A severe decrease of motion range in a hurting shoulder is what is known as a frozen shoulder. The discomfort typically occurs when you elevate your arm upward or to the side.

Test of Liftoff

If your healthcare professional suspects a subscapularis tendon injury at your shoulder blade, they could perform a liftoff test. Your palm should be facing out when you extend your hand to lay on your lower spine.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the 4 joints of the shoulder?

The sternoclavicular, acromioclavicular, scapulothoracic, and glenohumeral joints are the four joints found in the shoulder. The only joint that joins the upper arm to the axial skeleton is the sternoclavicular joint, a synovial saddle joint.

What type of joint is the shoulder joint?

Joint with a ball and socket

The glenohumeral joint functions as a diarthrodial, multiaxial joint while having a ball-and-socket structural design. The glenohumeral articulation, which is the primary assertion of the shoulder girdle, connects the humeral head to the glenoid of the scapula.

How do shoulder joints form?

The shoulder joint that most people visualize is the glenohumeral joint. It is created when the humerus’ top ball (called the head) fits into the scapula’s shallow cup-shaped socket (called the glenoid), allowing for a large range of motion.

What is the function of the shoulder joint?

You can carry out a variety of motions at your shoulder because it has a ball and socket joint. These muscles can be used to toss a ball or extend for items on a shelf. The shoulder joint, as it is also referred to, is the knot in your body with the widest range of motion.

What muscles act on the shoulder joint?

The rotator-cuffed muscles are the main muscle group responsible for supporting the shoulder joint. Teres minor, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis make up the four rotator cuff muscles.

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