As the most mobile joint in the human body, the shoulder is able to perform abduction, adduction, extension, flexion and internal and external rotation. This mobility provides the upper extremity with tremendous range of motion so individuals can engage in sporting activities and perform everyday movements. The shoulder is composed of three joints and five connected bones, as well as a system of ligaments and muscles that keep the shoulder in its correct position. Proudly serving the greater Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and NYC communities, Dr. Jonathan Ticker, orthopedic shoulder specialist, specializes in understanding shoulder anatomy and the myriad of shoulder injuries and conditions that lead to joint pain.

Shoulder Anatomy Overview

The shoulder is a sophisticated system of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that work in unison to provide a wide range of motion so individuals can perform everyday activities, compete in sports and perform work-related movements.

Shoulder anatomy is composed of five connected bones that include the scapula, clavicle, humerus, acromion and coracoid process. The shoulder blade (scapula) extends up and around the rear of the joint to form a roof-like structure, commonly known as the acromion (bony projection of the shoulder blade). The scapula also extends up and around the front of the joint to form the coracoid process (hook-like bony projection off the shoulder blade). The glenohumeral cavity is formed where the end of the scapula, known as the glenoid, meets the head of the humerus (upper arm bone).

The individual joints that compose the shoulder are formed by the connection of the scapula, clavicle (collarbone) and humerus. The three separate joints include:

  • The glenohumeral joint is formed by the connection of the scapula and the humerus and is responsible for providing arm rotation, as well as moving the arm in and out and up and down.
  • The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the highest point on the joint and provides a lifting ability.
  • The sternoclavicular (SC) joint is located at the center of the chest and provides clavicle movement.

A complex system of articular cartilage, ligaments, muscles, tendons and muscles surround each one of these separate joints to help the shoulder remain mobile and healthy. Articular cartilage plays a vital role in joint function by providing a soft, pad-like surface where each bone meets. Ligaments connect the bones, while tendons attach the muscles to the bones. A collection of tendons and muscles commonly known as the rotator cuff holds the humerus head in a shallow cavity located in the glenoid. The rotator cuff is very important to shoulder anatomy since it creates joint stabilization while the joint is in motion.

Common Shoulder Injuries and Conditions that Lead to Joint Pain

Shoulder injuries and conditions are quite common in individuals of all ages, as well as all athletic levels. Many injuries to the shoulder cause joint pain, loss of motion, stiffness and swelling.

Common shoulder injuries and conditions treated by Dr. Ticker include:

  • Shoulder impingement
  • Rotator cuff injuries and tears
  • Subscapularis tendon pathologies
  • Biceps tendon injuries
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Stiff shoulder
  • AC joint injuries
  • Calcific tendinitis
  • Labral and SLAP tears
  • Shoulder ganglion cysts

Common shoulder treatments performed by Dr. Ticker to alleviate joint pain include:

  • Primary and revision shoulder arthroscopy
  • Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair
  • Arthroscopic subscapularis repair
  • Arthroscopic biceps tenodesis
  • Arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction
  • Arthroscopic stabilization for shoulder instability
  • Arthroscopic calcium release
  • AC repair and coracoclavicular reconstruction
  • Latarjet reconstruction
  • Clavicle fracture fixation
  • Joint preservation and cartilage restoration

For additional resources on shoulder anatomy, or for more information on the many causes of shoulder joint pain, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Jonathan Ticker located in the greater Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and NYC area.  

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