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The shoulder girdle consists of the sternoclavicular, acromioclavicular, and glenohumeral joints, and the scapulothoracic articulation. The shoulder, a ball-and-socket joint, is freely movable and lacks a close connection between its articular surfaces. It has five muscles which hold it in the genohumeral joint and provide various movements.

Injuries of the shoulder can involve the scapula, clavicle, and shoulder. In sports, the shoulder girdle is a common site for injury and some times it can be a serious disability. A careful history recording the mechanism of trauma and the position of the limb during injury, careful inspection and palpation of the entire region, muscle and range-of-motion tests, and other standard neurologic-orthopedic tests will often arrive at an accurate diagnosis without the necessity of x-ray exposure.

Contusions, strains, sprains, bursitis, and neurologic deficits must be alertly recognized and treated. Fractures and dislocations, obviously, take precedence over soft-tissue injuries with the exception of severe bleeding. Not all shoulder problems are rotary cuff tears although it is one of the most common. Always check for bony crepitus, fracture line tenderness and swelling, angulation and deformity. Because the shoulder readily “freezes” after injury, treatment must strive to maintain motion as soon as possible without encouraging recurring problems. The key to avoiding prolonged disability is early recognition and early mobilization. Call 334-514-7600 and set up an appointment today. Tell them Dr. McNally sent you.