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St. Mary's Center for Orthopaedics

FAQ’s: Shoulder Injuries

Common Injuries of the Shoulder

Normally, the shoulder has a wide range of motion, making it the most mobile joint in the body. Because of this flexibility, however, it is not very stable and is vulnerable to injury. Most injuries to the shoulder are to the muscles and ligaments.  Shoulder injuries are common in sports that require overhead motion like swimming, tennis, pitching and weightlifting. To keep shoulders healthy and pain-free, it’s important to know how to spot and avoid common injuries.

The shoulder is made up of three joints. The glenohumeral joint is a ball and socket joint linking the collarbone (clavicle) to the upper arm bone (humerus). The acromioclavicular joint joins the shoulder blade (scapula) to the clavicle. The third joint, scapulothoracic, joins the scapula to the back of the rib cage. The rotator cuff, four muscles that surround the shoulder, stabilize it. Tendons attach these muscles to bones. Bursa, or small fluid-filled sacs, decrease friction during shoulder movements.