Rotator cuff injuries Rotator Cuff Injury/Subacromial Bursitis The muscles that help hold the upper arm in the shoulder joint (the rotator cuff muscles) can get pinched (shoulder impingement syndrome), become inflamed (tendinitis), or can tear partially... read more are the most common shoulder injuries. (For fractures of the upper arm bone, see Upper Arm Fractures Upper Arm Fractures Upper arm fractures occur at the upper end of the upper arm bone (humerus), affecting the shoulder joint. Upper arm fractures usually result from a fall on an outstretched arm. Usually, the... read more . See also Overview of Sports Injuries Overview of Sports Injuries Sports injuries are common among athletes and other people who participate in sports. Certain injuries that are traditionally considered sports injuries can also occur in people who do not participate... read more .)
Anatomy of a Shoulder Joint
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint (so is the hip joint). The ball at the top (head) of the upper arm bone (humerus) fits into the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula), and the ball-and-socket joint allows the arm to move in all directions. The rotator cuff consists of the muscles that attach the shoulder blade to the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff strengthens the shoulder joint and helps rotate the upper arm.
The glenoid labrum is a lip of strong connective tissue at the rim of the socket of the shoulder joint. The labrum helps keep the ball securely in the socket.
When people injure their shoulder, doctors can often diagnose the problem based on the physical examination. However, sometimes x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is needed.
Many shoulder injuries resolve with rest followed by rehabilitation exercises. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen) may also be used for short-term pain relief (for up to 72 hours). If pain persists for longer than 72 hours, the person should be referred to a specialist to determine if additional treatment (for example, corticosteroid injection or surgery) is needed.