Normal Anatomy of the Shoulder Joint
The shoulder joint is one of the most impressive synovial joints in the human body. The main components of the shoulder joint are the Scapula, the Clavicle or collarbone, and the Humerus. These three are in turn supported by a vast network of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage tissues. The shoulder joint’s complex anatomy affords it the greatest degree of flexibility of all the joints in our bodies. However, its complex structure also makes it one of the most susceptible to injury.
Shoulder instability is a painful condition which significantly increases the risk of suffering shoulder joint dislocations. The condition is characterized by a pervasive feeling of looseness in the primary joint socket. Shoulder instability typically develops after a fall or injury such as those commonly experienced by athletes.
Rotator Cuff Tear
The Rotator Cuff is composed of a group of muscles and tendons that provide the shoulder joint with stabilization and allows for shoulder strength and flexibility. Rotator Cuff tears are particularly prevalent in athletes, especially throwers. As we age, the body will experience regular wear and tear, making a rotator cuff injury more prevalent with older patients. In most cases, Rotator Cuff lesions are partial and easily treatable. That being said, if left untreated, lesion tend to worsen, which leave the rotator cuff susceptible to a complete laceration.
Frozen Shoulder syndrome is a debilitating condition that results in pain, discomfort and limited range of motion. Frozen shoulder is most prevalent in patients aged between 40 and 60, with even higher incidences in those diagnosed with diabetes. Most cases are treated with stretching therapy and a course of corticosteroid injections.
Shoulder impingement, more commonly known as Swimmer’s Shoulder, is an inflammatory condition in which the shoulder joint’s connective tissues, i.e., the tendons, consistently rub against the bony shoulder blade or scapula. Although age is a component in the development of this condition, it is generally caused by highly repetitive activities, like athletic motions such as swimming, pitching and swinging (tennis).
The clavicle bone (collarbone) serves as a supporting structure between the shoulder blades and the sternum. Since the clavicle’s primary purpose is to hold up the arms, when they fracture the patient experiences a severe disruption to the shoulder joints’ mobility. It is not uncommon for fragments or shards of broken bone to become displaced and causing severe swelling and potential hemorrhaging in the adjacent tissues.
Shoulder arthroscopy is a popular surgery technique that offers surgeons a critical view into the site of various shoulder injuries. Through minimal incisions, an arthroscope is inserted into the injured areas of the shoulder to provide advanced imaging of the damaged bone, tendon, cartilage, etc. This allows surgeons to confidently and successfully address a wide spectrum of injuries and degenerative conditions.
Shoulder Joint Replacement
A total shoulder replacement becomes necessary when arthritis or similar conditions cause the shoulder to lose mobility and makes movement painful. During a total shoulder replacement surgery, the head of the humerus is replaced with an artificial implant. If successful, a total shoulder replacement is able to restore the joint to its full range of motion, with significantly reduced pain.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator Cuff repair may include scraping away damaged tissues such as torn ligaments, cartilage or bone spurs, corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and physical therapy to improve shoulder rotation, stability and strength. Surgeons may utilize closed surgery by utilizing shoulder arthroscopy or open surgery to repair damaged shoulder tissue. If successful, rotator cuff repair can help to restore the shoulder joint’s full function and flexibility as well as significantly reduce pain.
Shoulder reconstruction is a common surgical procedure available to patients with severe degenerative shoulder joint conditions. Shoulder reconstruction is highly effective in restoring shoulder stability, functional movement as well as providing a significant improvement in most patients’ perception of pain.