Why Take Care of The Shoulders And Elbows?

Our shoulders and elbow joints are capable of a range of movements and allow us to bend, flex, reach, and rotate our arms. However, repetitive overhead movements may cause stress to the elbows and shoulders and result in injury.

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The Anatomy of A Shoulder & Elbow

Similar to the hip, the shoulder is also considered a ball-and-socket joint. It consists of 2 bones, the humerus (upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). The ball at the end of the humerus fits into the glenoid cavity which acts as the socket for the joint. The glenoid is lined by the labrum which is a cuff of tough fibrous tissue that increases the conformity of the joint. The muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint are known as the rotator cuff and this is what gives the joint a wide range of movements. As humerus fits loosely into the shoulder joint, it is prone to injury.

 

The elbow is a joint that connects the upper arm to the lower arm and consists of 3 bones – the humerus, the ulna (the bone that stretches from the elbow to the smallest finger), and the radius (the bone that lies parallel to the ulna). Four ligaments (the connective tissue that joins bone to bone) stabilise the joint and cartilage covers the ends of the bones to provide lubrication. Known as a synovial hinge joint, the elbow is typically capable of a less range of movement as compared to the shoulder. Its main function is to extend the arm to help reach objects or act as a lever for lifting things.

 

The shoulder and elbow joints together support the structure of your arms and give them much of their flexibility and durability.

 

Causes & Risk Factors of Shoulder And Elbow Injuries

The most common cause of shoulder and elbow injuries is sustained overuse of the joints and the muscles. Although the shoulders can move in all different directions, this ability also makes them more prone to injury. The elbow is considered one of the most-used joints of the human body, and the accumulated pressure may result in injuries. In general, the common risk factors of shoulder and elbow injuries are:

 

  • Regular strenuous exercise
  • Jobs that require repetitive overhead motion, vibration, or constant computer or phone use
  • Bad posture (for shoulders)
  • Age – bones become more brittle and the soft tissues deteriorate over the years
  • Underlying medical conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Large external force to the joints

 

Here are the common injuries for the shoulder and elbow:

 

Are you experiencing any of these shoulder and elbow conditions?

Shoulder

  • Rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder pain
  • Shoulder instability
  • Acromioclavicular joint injuries

Elbow

  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow

 

Common Symptoms of Shoulder And Elbow Conditions

As there is a range of injuries that affect the shoulder and elbow, the symptoms will vary accordingly. Nevertheless, common symptoms include:

 

  • Pain
  • Stiffness (especially in the shoulder muscles)
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty moving the injured area

 

As most shoulder and elbow conditions are chronic injuries (injuries that accumulate over time), it is likely that you may not display symptoms in the beginning but they will progressively get worse as time goes on. As such, it is important to treat injuries before they get too serious.

Experience Value-driven Care Tailored To Your Needs

Our doctors are trained and highly experienced in diagnosing and treating orthopaedics conditions. We aim to provide you with quality care by thoroughly assessing your condition and personalising your treatments to your needs and goals.

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