The shoulder joint is one of the most complex and most used joints of the body. Unfortunately, this means it is prone to a lot of different injuries. In order to understand why the shoulder is so prone to injury and wear and tear, it’s important to understand its structure.
Here, you’ll discover more about the structure of the shoulder and the different types of injuries that can occur.
Understanding the shoulder’s anatomy
As it’s the largest ball and socket joint in the body, the shoulder has a fairly complex structure. It combines three bones, two joints, elastic cartilage, soft tissues, and numerous muscles and tendons.
The three bones of the shoulder are the scapula, or shoulder blade, the clavicle or collarbone, and the humerus or upper arm bone. The two joints include the acromioclavicular joint, where the shoulder blade meets the collarbone, and the glenohumeral joint where the ball of the upper arm bone slots into the glenoid socket.
All of these unique components of the shoulder can be injured. This makes it easier to see why shoulder injuries and problems are such a common occurrence.
Why is the shoulder prone to wear and tear injury?
Due to its complex structure, the shoulder provides an excellent range of mobility. It’s used far more than you might realise, and this exposes it to daily wear and tear. Those who work within a manual profession, as well as athletes, are even more susceptible to wear and tear.
Daily strain placed onto the shoulder, largely from overhead motions, can lead to wear and tear over time. A wear and tear injury typically occurs when the cartilage lining thins or wears away completely. This then leads to a number of potential injuries and conditions, such as tears and arthritis.
Common shoulder injuries
There are a lot of common shoulder injuries patients may experience due to wear and tear. Labral tears are by far one of the most frequent complaints, typically occurring in the top of the labrum. The tear stretches from the front of the cartilage to the back and it’s commonly referred to as a SLAP tear. It impacts the biceps tendon and the glenoid, affecting their attachment. Understandably, this type of injury can result in extreme pain and if left untreated, the biceps tendon can rupture.
Shoulder instability is another common injury, often caused when the ligaments and muscles are stretched more than they should be. If left untreated, these ligaments could tear, leading to shoulder separation or full dislocation.
These are just a couple of the most common shoulder injuries relating to wear and tear. The key is to seek treatment as soon as you experience any symptoms. When caught early, treatment will usually consist of physical therapy and rest. However, if left to become more severe, surgery may be required which would result in a much longer downtime.
If you’re concerned you may be suffering from a wear and tear injury, book a consultation with a shoulder specialist today.