Shoulder being a highly functional joint, and the relatively high prevalence of shoulder pain, it is a common cause of disability. Shoulder pain can arise from a wide variety of causes, from trauma and sporting injury to over-use to more medical or systemic conditions.
The labrum is a ring-shaped piece of cartilage that fits around the border of the glenoid cavity (socket joint).
Its purpose is to add depth and to create a ‘negative pressure seal’ in the shoulder to help increase its stability. As the shoulder is designed to provide a huge amount of movement, the labrum becomes one of the few stabilising structures it has. When the labrum gets injured or torn, it can cause pain or instability at the shoulder.
The shoulder joint is designed for mobility, at the sacrifice of stability. This means that in certain situations, there is a higher risk of a joint dislocation, or partial dislocations, in the shoulder.
This is when the humerus (upper arm) and the glenoid (socket joint on the scapula) become separated and stretch or tear the ligaments holding them together. This will most often occur due to trauma or in sporting injuries, however it is possible for people to develop atraumatic instabilities, or even to be born with more laxity in their joints.
The ‘Sub-acromial space’ is the area located between the top of the gleno-humeral joint and the Acromio-Clavicular joint above it.
In this space the superior rotator-cuff tendons and the sub-acromial bursa sit. For various reasons, these structures can become impinged. This can either be because of bony abnormalities to the acromion process, thickening of the tendons and bursae, or because of biomechanical changes to the sub-acromial space.
A bursa is a small, fluid filled sac that’s main purpose is to take up space and reduce friction between different structures in the body.
There are many different bursae in the body, however there are 5 main bursae in the shoulder. When these bursae become inflamed, they produce painful chemicals and occupy more space in the shoulder.
Other Shoulder Conditions
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