The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that connect the muscles of the shoulder blade to the top of the arm bone (humerus). They are responsible for the coordinated movements of the ball and socket of the shoulder joint that provides a a flexible range of of movement and strength. The tendons travel under an arch-like projection of bone of the shoulder blade called the acromion. Between the tendons and the acromion is a normal subacromial bursa which allows smooth gliding of the tendons as the shoulder moves.
Shoulder arthritis can develop in two main patterns, one where there is no known cause and secondly can be as a long term consequence of a torn rotator cuff resulting in rotator cuff arthropathy.
It can lead to pain, stiffness and sometimes a “creaking” or “crunching” in the movements of the shoulder.
The shoulder joint has one of the most flexible range of movement out of all the joints in the body. This flexibility comes at the expense of stability (keeping the ball in the socket). The shoulder is at it’s most vulnerable and unstable position when it is overhead and extended backwards such as contact to the arm when catching a ball overhead.
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