The shoulder is made up of three bones:

  • The scapula 
  • The clavicle 
  • The humerus 

These bones are joined together by soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joint capsule) to form a platform for the arm to work.

The shoulder is made up of three joints:

  • The glenohumeral joint
  • The acromioclavicular joint
  • The sternoclavicular joint
shoulder injuries

This illustration highlights the bones and other major components of the shoulder.

Clavicle Fractures

Clavicle fractures have traditionally been treated without surgery.

Surgery is necessary when the fracture has broken through the skin, or the bone is severely out of place. 

Surgery typically involves fixation of the fracture with plates and screws or surgeon.

Proximal Humerus Fractures

Most fractures of the proximal humerus can be treated without surgery if the bone fragments are not severely out of position (displaced). If surgery is necessary, it usually involves:

Shoulder Separations (Acromioclavicular Joint)

Treatment of shoulder separations is based on the severity of the injury as well as the direction of the separation and the physical requirements of the patient.

Less severe shoulder separations are usually treated without surgery.

Severe separations in an upward direction or dislocations in the backward or downward directions often require surgery. Surgery involves repair or reconstruction of the ligaments.

Shoulder Dislocations (Glenohumeral Joint)

The initial treatment- reducing the dislocation (“putting it back in the socket”). This usually involves treatment in the emergency room.the shoulder is then placed in a sling or special brace.

Additional treatment, which is done at a later date, is based on:

  • The patient’s age
  • Evidence of persistent (ongoing) problems with the shoulder going out of place
  • The underlying associated soft-tissue injury (either to the rotator cuff or the capsulolabral complex)

Patients who are 25 years of age or younger generally require surgery.

 Persistent instability (dislocations) of the shoulder usually requires surgery. Surgery involves repair of the torn soft tissues.