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    Learn about shoulder anatomy and injuries to rotator cuff muscles and ligaments.

    Got shoulder pain?

    Have you been diagnosed by a doctor with a scapula injury or rotator cuff muscle tear?

    shoulder anatomy

    The scapula is one of the main bones of the shoulder joint. It stabilizes the shoulder from the back side. Fractures of the scapula are not common but can occur in high-energy impact injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents or falls. Scapula fractures may be serious when the part of the scapula involving the shoulder joint is injured.

    At the back of your shoulder you will find a fan or triangular shaped bone called the scapula. The scapula is attached to the clavicle (collar bone) by the ac joint and the humerus (upper arm bone). The anterior (front) view in the image shown above illustrates the Glenohumeral joint, greater tubercle, lesser tubercle, and Subscapularis muscle. From the posterior (back) view the image illustrates the relationship between the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, and the Teres minor.

    shoulder anatomy

    While scapula injury is not common, unless you have been in a traumatic accident, injuries to to muscle groups, ligaments, and tendons are more common. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder joint in place and help to stabilize the shoulder during movement. Common injuries include partial and full-thickness tendon tears. There are two main causes of tendon tears: 1. injury, and 2. degenerative disorders. Acute tears of the rotator cuff happen when you are in an accident, fall, or jerk your shoulder during an explosive exercise or through heavy lifting. Degenerative tears occur over long periods of time, often with little or no pain to warn of the tear. Repetitive stress occurring from sports like tennis or baseball can put you at risk for rotator cuff degenerative tears. Additionally, certain work related tasks, lack of blood supply to rotator cuff tendons, and bone spurs (growth of bone) rub on rotator cuff tendons causing shoulder impingement and tear.

    A scapula fracture may be a sign that a serious injury to the heart, lungs, spine, or blood vessels in the chest has occurred.

    Symptoms of a scapular fracture include tenderness over the scapula and inability to raise the affected arm. The affected shoulder may look flattened.

    Most scapular fractures can be treated without surgery. Treatment includes a sling for immobilizing the shoulder, ice, medications to reduce pain and swelling, and range-of-motion exercises.

    Always consult your Doctor when questioning pain, injury or any “nagging” experience with possible injury. This and any article in our website on injury, disease or dysfunction is intended to inform - not to diagnose, treat or advise.

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