Diseases of the shoulder

The shoulder is a complicated and sensitive joint and is essential for almost every movement. Inflammation and injury can damage them and lead to pain and restricted mobility.
In the following you will find the most important and most common diseases and injuries of the shoulder joint and the muscles and ligaments involved, broken down according to how they originated.

Classification of diseases of the shoulder

Below you will find the most common diseases and injuries of the shoulder divided into:

  1. Inflammation in the shoulder area
  2. Injuries to the shoulder
  3. Shoulder diseases as a result of wear and tear and incorrect loading

Inflammation in the shoulder area

Inflammation of the shoulder joint

The shoulder is one of the most stressed joints in our body and is heavily stressed especially by tennis players but also in various professions such as craftsmen. An inflammation in the shoulder can have many causes, but it is always associated with pain and reduced mobility, which usually significantly limits everyday activities, as even everyday dressing is often difficult. Therefore, an inflammation in the shoulder should always be treated by a qualified doctor.

Read more on this topic at: Inflammation of the shoulder

Biceps tendonitis

The term biceps tendon inflammation is understood to mean the presence of inflammatory processes in the area of ​​the biceps tendon. In most cases, these inflammatory processes affect the long tendon of the two-headed muscle. So it is not exactly a muscle inflammation. Mostly it is due to wear and tear, often in throwing sports. Treatment of biceps tendonitis depends primarily on the underlying cause.

Read more on this topic at: Biceps tendonitis

Appointment with a shoulder specialist

I would be happy to advise you!

Who am I?
My name is Carmen Heinz. I am a specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery in the specialist team of .

The shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body.

The treatment of the shoulder (rotator cuff, impingement syndrome, calcified shoulder (tendinosis calcarea, biceps tendon, etc.) therefore requires a lot of experience.
I treat a wide variety of shoulder diseases in a conservative way.
The aim of any therapy is treatment with full recovery without surgery.
Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

You can find me in:

  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

Directly to the online appointment arrangement
Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to make an appointment with private health insurers. I hope for your understanding!
You can find more information about myself at Carmen Heinz.

Acromial bursitis - inflammation of the bursa

Subacromial bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa in the shoulder joint. It is one of the most common shoulder diseases and is associated with severe pain. A faulty load is often the cause. The therapy consists in particular of resting the shoulder and protecting it. If the pain cannot be brought under control as a result, the use of medication makes sense.

For more information on this topic, see: Subacromial Bursitis and Bursitis

Inflammation of the rotator cuff

Inflammation around the rotator cuff is one of the most common diseases of the shoulder. The muscle inflammation can be caused by various underlying diseases. The most common causes of inflammation in the area of ​​the rotator cuff include impairment of the tendon sheaths, bottleneck syndromes and traumatic changes in the bony structures of the shoulder joint.

You can find more information on this topic at: Inflammation of the rotator cuff

Injuries to the shoulder

Biceps tendon tear

The long biceps tendon usually tears as a result of wear and tear even under low loads. When the biceps tendon ruptures, the function of the muscle varies in severity, depending on the tendon affected. There are several options to choose from for treating a biceps tendon tear; a doctor should always be consulted for this.

Read more on this topic at: Biceps tendon tear

Ligament stretch in the shoulder

With extreme movements, the ligaments and muscles of the shoulder become tense and block further movement in that direction. If, however, a movement is carried out with so much momentum that the ligaments cannot withstand this pull, the ligament will stretch or, in the more extreme case, a ligament rupture. They can arise during exercise as well as everyday activities and are often associated with pain. It is then important to take care of the shoulder.

Further information on this topic can be found at: Ligament stretch in the shoulder

Torn ligament in the shoulder

A torn ligament of the shoulder is a tear in the ligament structures located there, which contribute to the stability of the joint. The ligament structures often tear in a fall with direct force acting on the shoulder joint and with an outstretched arm, which leads to severe pain. Various options are available for treatment.

Read more on this topic at: Torn ligament in the shoulder

Rotator cuff tear

If a rotator cuff tear occurs, the tendon sheath of these rotators tears, most often the supraspinatus tendon because of its anatomically narrow position under the roof of the shoulder. Such a tear occurs either as a result of a severe accident, for example a fall on the outstretched arm, or as a result of degeneration (wear and tear) of the weakened supraspinatus tendon. Various options and exercises are available for treatment.

Further information on this topic can be found at: Rotator cuff tear

Bruise of the shoulder

A shoulder bruise is an injury to the shoulder that is usually the result of a fall or impact trauma. In the case of a bruise, the force exerted on the affected tissue can cause bruises and swelling. A bruise on the shoulder is painful, and the affected shoulder can often not be loaded as usual. It usually heals without consequences.

Read more about this at: Bruise of the shoulder

Shoulder joint dislocation

A shoulder joint dislocation is a dislocation of the lateral end of the collarbone to the shoulder roof with injury to the stabilizing capsule / ligament apparatus of the shoulder joint. The most common cause is a fall on the shoulder with direct force transmission on the shoulder joint. It manifests itself primarily in three symptoms: pain directly over the shoulder joint, swelling of the shoulder area and relieving posture.

Read more on this topic at: Shoulder joint dislocation

Shoulder joint instability

Instabilities tend to occur in the shoulder joint, which can be explained by the anatomy of the shoulder joint. Shoulder instability can be congenital or occur after an accident. It usually manifests itself in severe pain. The treatment of shoulder joint instability can essentially take place in two different ways: conservative and surgical therapy.

Read more on this topic at: Shoulder joint instability

Shoulder dislocation

A shoulder dislocation is usually a very painful displacement of the shoulder joint. There are different causes for the occurrence of a shoulder dislocation. Most often, however, a levering movement of the upper arm with simultaneous external rotation is seen, in which the arm moves away from the body. It is usually accompanied by severe pain. Therapy can be conservative or surgical.

Read more on this topic at: Shoulder dislocation

SLAP lesion

Injuries and damage to the labrum-biceps complex are known as a slap lesion. The reason why a SLAP lesion is triggered can be more acute but also more chronic, e.g. through overload, being nature. If it is a chronic slap lesion, the patient may not notice anything at first. With advancing and untreated lesion, the patient will most often report pain with heavy loads. In the case of a manifest slap lesion, the surgical treatment method is often the only therapeutically sensible approach.

Read more on this topic at: SLAP lesion

Shoulder diseases as a result of wear and tear or improper loading

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder

The shoulder arthrosis (omarthrosis) is one of the shoulder diseases caused by wear and tear. Shoulder arthrosis is characterized by cartilage consumption in the main shoulder joint. Known causes of shoulder osteoarthritis are mechanical overload and damage to the rotator cuff. The complaints are rather uncharacteristic and manifest themselves in shoulder pain and restricted movement of the shoulder. Both conservative and surgical treatment methods can be considered.

Read more about this topic under: Shoulder Arthrosis

Lime shoulder

A lime shoulder is a shoulder in which lime has deposited. This happens most often in the area of ​​the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle, but in principle it can also affect any other tendon of the shoulder muscles. The result is an inflammatory process in the shoulder joint, which sometimes leads to severe pain. There are different causes that can be considered for a calcareous shoulder.

Read more on this topic at: Lime shoulder

Cartilage damage in the shoulder joint

If there is cartilage damage, i.e. a kind of tear in the cartilage tissue, pain can occur, which may need to be treated. This can be a small crack, but under certain circumstances it can also take on significantly larger dimensions. The reasons for cartilage damage cannot always be clearly diagnosed. Often it manifests itself in the form of severe pain. There are two specifically different therapeutic approaches for cartilage damage in the shoulder joint: conservative and surgical.

Read more on this topic at: Cartilage damage in the shoulder joint

Impingement Syndrome

Impingement syndrome is a functional impairment of the shoulder joint that can arise as a result of chronic overload, for example in tennis or golf players, swimmers or throwers. Often, however, it is not possible to identify the actual cause that triggers the disease; in these cases there is a constraint under the roof of the shoulders. Those affected usually complain of moderate to severe shoulder pain.

Read more on this topic at: Impingement Syndrome

Frozen shoulder

The frozen shoulder describes a temporary stiffening of one or both shoulders with severely restricted mobility, which is accompanied by the gluing of the sliding layers of the shoulder joint. The origin of the primary frozen shoulder has not yet been clarified. The treatment of frozen shoulder is always conservative and aims at gently mobilizing the shoulder joint.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • You can tell when you have frozen shoulder by these symptoms
For an anatomical understanding of the shoulder

The so-called shoulder girdle is formed by two bones on each side of the shoulder, i.e. by the two collarbones (Clavicles) and shoulder blades (Scapulae). The shoulder blade and the humerus form the shoulder joint. In addition, the shoulder blade forms two bony protrusions, the roof of the shoulder (Acromion) and the raven beak extension (Coracoid).

The shoulder joint is largely stabilized by four muscles and their tendons, the so-called Rotator cuff. The four muscles (Musculus supraspinatus, M. infraspinatus, M. teres minor and M. subscapularis) pull from the shoulder blade to the humerus and attach their tendons there. For this reason, they wrap around the head of the humerus like a cuff and form a "roof" over the shoulder joint. The space under the shoulder roof that Subacromial space, is often affected by wear problems in the shoulder joint. A bursa facilitates the sliding process between the tendons and the bony roof of the shoulder. This can lead to shoulder pain, for example due to inflammation.

The shoulder joint is primarily moved and mobilized by muscles and tendons, resulting in a large range of motion. However, this increases the risk of instability and the shoulder joint is easily injured.

The picture below shows the upper arm with its humeral head and the shoulder blade from the front. You can see the relatively small area of ​​the joint that connects the two bones. In addition to the muscles, the upper arm has, among other things, another help for stabilization in the shoulder joint. This consists of a cartilage lip that supports the spherical head of the humerus like a saucer with a small indentation prevents a cup from slipping.
This cartilage lip is called the glenoid labrum. If part of this cartilage lip is torn off, the shoulder joint will always dislocate, even without force, because stability is impaired. This link leads directly to the page on Glenoid Labrum Tear Therapy.

The shoulder is a major muscle-guided joint. This means that the articulated connection consists largely of muscles. In contrast, one could do that hip joint see, in which an important part of the stability of the hip joint is ensured by ligaments that are very resilient and can withstand enormous forces.
This muscle guidance proves to be a great advantage when you take the gained agility is considering. However, this type of connection between two bones also has a major disadvantage. The stability is much lower compared to the hip joint and therefore the vulnerability of the Shoulder joint significantly larger.

If you look at the type of illness or injury, three special diagnoses stand out because of their frequency. These are the

  • Shoulder pain when moving the arm (impingement syndrome; read: "impindschment")
  • the tendon tear of the deeper layers of the shoulder muscles (Rotator cuff rupture)
  • repeated dislocation of the shoulder (recurrent shoulder dislocation)

Without the appropriate specialist knowledge, no conclusions can be drawn about the cause of these diseases, therefore an explanation should be given here.

Figure shoulder joint
  1. Humerus head - Caput humeri
  2. Shoulder joint socket -
    Glenoid Cavitas
  3. Shoulder blade - Scapula
  4. Collarbone - Clavicle
  5. Shoulder corner - Acromion
  6. Shoulder-collarbone
    Joint -
    Articulatio acromioclavicularis
  7. Deltoid - M. deltoideus
  8. Raven beak process -
    Coracoid process
  9. Raven beak extension shoulder corner
    Tape -
    Coracoacromiale ligament
  10. Joint cavity -
    C.avitas articularis
  11. Fiber cartilage ring -
    Glenoid labrum
  12. Biceps, long head -
    M. biceps brachii
  13. Bursa -
    Subacromial bursa
  14. Upper arm shaft -
    Corpus humeri

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

Illustration of the muscles of the right shoulder: A - front view and B - muscles of the back

Shoulder muscles

  1. Scapula-hyoid bone muscle -
    Omohyoideus muscle
  2. Anterior stair muscle -
    Scanelus anterior muscle
  3. Head turner -
    Sternocleidomastoid muscle
  4. Collarbone - Clavicle
  5. Deltoid - M. deltoideus
  6. Raven bill process upper arm muscle -
    Coracobrachialis muscle
  7. Subscapular muscle -
    Subscapularis muscle
    (second layer)
  8. Two-headed upper arm muscle
    (Biceps) - M. biceps brachii
  9. Pectoralis major -
    Pectoralis major muscle
  10. Scapula lifter -
    (second layer) -
    Muscle levator scapulae
  11. Upper bone muscle -
    Muscle supraspinatus (second layer)
  12. Scapula bone -
    Spina scapulae
  13. Small round muscle -
    Muscle teres minor
  14. Subbone Muscle -
    Muscle infraspinatus
  15. Large round muscle -
    Muscle teres major
  16. Trapezius -
    Muscle trapezius
  17. Broad back muscle -
    Muscle latissimus dorsi

    Rotator cuff
    = 4 muscles (7th + 11th + 13th + 14th) -
    covered by the deltoid

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations