Tendons In The Shoulder

By Liz Brabston

What are the 4 Shoulder Tendons?

The shoulder joint is made up of 4 main tendons which are the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and the Subscapularis. most complex in the body. It is often referred to as a ball and socket joint. You can picture the head of the humerus as a ball and the glenoid cavity, a part of the scapula, as a tee. This allows the head of the humerus to glide in many directions allowing for greater mobility but less stability. Due to the shoulder having less stability, the tendons in the shoulder can be injured. In this article, you will find information regarding tendons in the shoulder, various types of injuries to the tendons and some of the causes, and how to be diagnosed.

What Tendons are in the Shoulder?

The quick answer is there are many tendons in the shoulder as this is a complex joint. Some tendons make up the rotator cuff, which connects the scapula to the humerus and allows for shoulder movement. These tendons connect the four muscles, and they are the following: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, Teres minor, and the subscapularis. The shoulder also has many other tendons, but these are the primary tendons that stabilize the shoulder and allow the humerus to sit in the glenoid cavity. The humerus fitting into the glenoid cavity loosely allows for greater ROM, which can also lead to more injuries. With overuse of tendons of the shoulder, tendonitis or tendinitis can develop.

See also  7 Easy Ways of Transferring iPhone Photos to Your Mac

Shoulder Tendons and Ligaments

A group of muscles and ligaments surrounds the shoulder. The ligaments connect the bones of the shoulder, and tendons connect the bones to the muscles. Ligaments in the shoulder provide stability for the shoulder. Often when the ligaments are damaged by injury, the shoulder joint can be very unstable, which causes several problems.

What is the most Commonly Injured Tendon in the Shoulder?

The rotator cuff tear is the most common injury that occurs to the shoulder. A torn rotator cuff can cause shoulder weakness and make activities of daily living painful and difficult to perform. There are two types of tears : partial and a full thickness tear.

What Causes Shoulder Tendon Injuries?

Multiple causes can cause injury to the shoulder. Repetitive movements such as throwing a ball and overhead activities are the most common causes as these movements can cause the tendons to wear down. Other causes can be related to an acute injury such as a fall or be caused by degenerative changes with the aging process. Below is a list of some of the injuries that can happen in the shoulder:

  • Adhesive Capsulitis:
    • This injury occurs to the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint and can limit the range of motion and mobility.
  • Shoulder Tendonitis:
    • This occurs when the tendons in the shoulder inflame. This can be caused by overuse, and the tendons eventually become damaged.
  • Shoulder Impingement:
    • The scapula has a bony part called the acromion, which can pressure the tendons in the shoulder and cause pain.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear:
    • Injury to the rotator cuff is is a rotate cuff tear, and the tear can be in any of these four muscles, or the tear can be in multiple tendons:
      • Subscapularis.
      • Supraspinatus- this is the most common tendon of the shoulder to tear.
      • Teres Minor.
      • Infraspinatus.
See also  10 Best HEIC Viewers on Windows and Mac

Treating Shoulder Tendons

For adhesive capsulitis, shoulder tendonitis, shoulder impingement, and some rotator cuff tears, stretching and strengthening the muscles is very important. As therapists, we want to increase mobility and strength by using Thera bands, dumbbells, and mobilization techniques. Therefore, we can decrease pain and improve range of motion and functional mobility. However, some shoulder injuries may require surgery.

How do you know if you have Tendon Damage in your Shoulder?

Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Tendon Injuries Include:

  • Pain with Lifting your arm
  • Pain that can include a deep ache
  • Popping
  • Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain
  • Shoulder stiffness

An orthopedist can perform special shoulder tests or order an x-ray, MRI to diagnose you. From there, physical therapy can help you with regaining motion, strength and decreasing pain. Shoulder pain can’t wait for treatment due to the risk of other issues developing.

If you have recently had a shoulder surgery please watch this helpful video: Dressing the Upper Body After an Injury or Surgery

Book an Appointment with The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Today!

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

Image of Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician Button.

By: Liz Brabston