This is one of the best shoulder anatomy videos around.  Once you have a better understanding of the anatomy of the shoulder then you can start to explore what might be wrong with it.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is a very complex structure.  This accounts for the reason why the shoulder can be injured easily, and why treatment of certain shoulder issues can be difficult.

This shoulder anatomy video is quite thorough and will provide you with a nice overview of the shoulder and serves a good starting point as you seek to learn more about your shoulder and what the source of shoulder your pain may be.

When you have finished watching this shoulder anatomy video you should have a firm grasp on the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bursae around the shoulder.  Then we can get into particulars about how each can be afflicted to cause you discomfort.

Enjoy this shoulder anatomy video:

Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

19 comments on “Shoulder Anatomy Video

  • I have a partial thickness tear. One dr told me I have frozen shoulder, but I can move my shoulder (rolls) forward and backward with no pain. Severe pain upon lifting arm out to side and front and behind. Symptoms got much worse wk before Thanksgiving when I got cortisone shot in gh joint. Now can’t even put a barrette in my hair. Was told surgery would make fs worse, but I want out of this pain and my arm usage back. I’m wondering if I really have fs since I can move my shoulder around but not my arm. My dr thinks because my tear is small it can’t be cause of this.

    • Crys .. A frozen shoulder, by definition is a situation where the shoulder does not move normally — either by you trying to move it — or with someone else trying to move it. These shoulders truly are “frozen”. In the very early stages of a frozen shoulder there will be extreme pain.. but your motion might not be very restricted. The frozen stage comes next. A GH injection generally helps a little with the pain from a frozen shoulder and is a good place to start for many. An MRI should show “inferior capsular edema (fluid) of thickening” in the setting of a frozen shoulder. Absent the aforementioned a different diagnosis might be the cause of your pain. Perhaps a visit to a second opinion is worthwhile?

      Good Luck
      Howard Luks

  • Good day Dr. Luks,

    Thank you for providing this valuable resource. I am a 53 yr old male who was diagnosed with a SLAP tear. I have yet to see a an ortho surgeon. I did get a copy of my MRI, which included an interpretation. I also saw a PA, who suggested PT. I do quite a bit of physical labor in my work, and injured the shoulder while tossing an 80 lb bucket underhand. on July 15 of 2014. From what I’ve read, I may not be a god candidate for surgery to repair the tear, as those over 40 generally do not heal well.The only exception is with the aid of stem cell therapy, which my insurance won’t cover. Perhaps I just have to live with the chronic pain, and forget about resuming my normal activity. Synovial fluid build-up was also detected, as was hemotoma, partially due to continued use, and blood thinners given during a recent hospitalization for dehydration. Te dehydration also shrinks muscles, tendons and ligaments as much as 6%, and compromises their structural integrity. With blood-tainted synovial fluid, the immune system goes into high gear and attacks the labrum and other aforementioned soft issue, as if it were foreign material. I have not mentioned the edema in the A/C joint. edema has been known to cause bone rapid degeneration. I have read of cases where such conditions will completely destroy the entire shoulder joint over time. Should blood work be done to check white/red count, enzymes, Jo-1 antibody, etc? Same question for synovial fluid, and muscle biopsy. Thanks Respecfully, Robert

  • Nice work Dr. Luks ! I am a 64 years young , middle aged male . I have had many many surgeries including arthroscopic cuff repair ; Right shoulder . I recently injured my left . Will rest and slow rehabilitation allow the parts of the shoulder to heal with out surgery ? Again I would like to thank you for the information . Bruce

  • Had accident at work on Oct.23 2014 . Injured my shoulder and went to Dr. They sent me for tri and it showed a 11mms full thickness anterior tear of uprisings tendon. Knowing how great workers comp is things took a little bit but finally was able to go to ortho surgeon and she said I needed surgery. I ended up having open surgery. Acromioplasty rotator cuff repair,and she did a resection of the distal clavicle and the coracromial ligament. So here is what I am wondering. Before and after this surgery my back between shoulder blades has been tight and the muscles have been tingling. My upper arm after surgery has been so bad , a lot of pain. Not sure if it is bicep or triceps but are all balled up and hurt non stop. To reattach the tendon to the bone she used 3 anchors , I guess the amount of pain I am in and the weird sensations have me scared. I have read so much about how no movement for x amount of weeks and low and be bold they have me in p.t. in 2 weeks after. If it were u would you go get another opinion , scared they have missed something.

    • HI Joan … the recovery from a rotator cuff tear can take quite a while. As you just recently had the surgery it would be hard to determine if you are feeling a normal discomfort or something is a bit off. I would have this conversation with your surgeon. Hopefully she gives you the time you need.
      Good Luck
      Howard Luks

  • Hello Dr Luks, I am a 61 yr old with mri diag slap tear of L shoulder labrum. Injury occurred in April 2014. mri done jul 2014. I have had 3 steroidal injections resulting in no relief in pain. I have done pt (at home) to maintain range of motion. I am unable to take pain medications due to irritation of stomach and allergic reactions to some. I saw a shoulder surgeon who did not do an exam or ask any questions. Stated that he seen mri., ‘everyone has torn labrums’ and suggested I try Aleve. The shoulder continues to worsen. I am continuing the pt. I have an appt w/ a 2nd ortho surgeon in January for a 2nd opinion. I would like to lessen the extreme pain, sleep better and I need to work. Is there something else I can be doing? Thank you. Kathi

    • There is an exceptionally low likelihood that a SLAP lesion is the source of your pain. Something else in your shoulder is the source of pain… tendinosis, bursitis, etc. I hope your next opinion can examine you and explain things better!

      Good Luck
      Howard Luks

  • Dr. Luks, thanks for all the information on rotator cuff problems and repairs. I am almost 54 and had rotator cuff surgery in oct. 2013 so it’s just over a year and feeling great full mobility still working on strength, but surgery was super successful. I had full tear of super spinatus and partial tears of infraspinatus and subscapularis, Last week I was skiing at our local mountain and doubled ejected out of bindings, I was told they were set wrong. I landed really hard on my other shoulder with my arm outstretched to protect myself, ha only to injure my shoulder. It’s been a week and I have night pain, I can’t lift my shoulder easily and it hurts a lot to lift it especially forward and to the side. My deltoid and bicep both hurt a lot when I lift it. I can’t yet ad,it that maybe I really injured this shoulder could it be I just need to rest it for several weeks or is night pain the cardinal sign I did some tear damage and need that MRI/ X-ray. So bummed! Thanks, kaz

    • Sorry Kaz :-( Night pain is the hallmark of rotator cuff pain, not necessarily a rotator cuff tear. With your injury and complaints, an examination and evaluation is best done sooner rather than later.

      Good Luck !
      Howard Luks

  • Thank you for your incredibly informative website, Dr. Luks!
    I’m 63, female, with no known sudden injury, but I developed shoulder pain almost a year ago. When it didn’t go away and actually started getting worse, I mentioned it to my doctor. Xray – “mild osteoarthritis.” Had PT for almost 3 months with a slight increase in ROM but continued pain. MRI – “mild impingement, degenerative changes AC joint, supraspinatus tendinosis or grade 1 incomplete rotator cuff tear.” My doctor said to continue PT, and has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon, whose first appointment is in mid-April!
    I am on a fentanyl patch for long-term spinal issues, and I don’t understand how what seems to be mild pathology can cause such incredible pain. Can you enlighten me please? Thank you!

    • Unless I examine you and know what part of the shoulder is bothering you then I can’t say for sure.
      The most common cause of shoulder pain at your age is the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff tendinosis can hurt as much if not more than rotator cuff tears. I have many posts on my site about rotator cuff tendinosis… just use the search box at the top of any page :-)

      Tendinosis is a process where a tendon is starting to break down and show its age. Tendinosis in the elbow is tennis elbow — and we know how painful that can be. Tendinosis in the achilles can be brutal — and I speak from personal experience :-) So… tears need not be present for someone to suffer from pain.

      Good luck with your PT and your Ortho visit.

  • D.R my name si Gabriel Nahmad. Im P.T I Have a degree in osteopathycal therapy and another in musculare chains. In a french schooll.
    I want to ask you I Have a patient with slap 3 He is 21 years i want to tray to rehab with out surgery with diferent techniques like feldenkraise methode mckenzie osteopathy and physical therapy
    you think that is posible.?
    O in you experience slap always need a surgery

    • Not all Type 3 SLAP lesions will go on to require surgery. Many 21 year olds with a SLAP also have subtle subluxation… so plyometric exercises can be useful too.

  • Thanks for this video, it was one of the most informative, concise educational videos of shoulder anatomy I have found in searching for info about the weird pains in my shoulder and the limited range of movement I’m currently experiencing. I had 4 months of physio with no real relief. I’m waiting for NZ lockdown to lift before I can get my GP to review.

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