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Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Andrew J. K. Östör


The shoulder joint has evolved to allow maximum mobility of the upper limb and hand in order to optimize function. As a consequence, stability of the joint has been sacrificed resulting in the potential for shoulder pathology. Although shoulder pain represents a ubiquitous human experience, a clear understanding of the epidemiology, assessment, diagnosis, and management of shoulder disorders remains elusive. Despite this, several defined conditions affect the shoulder including subacromial impingement syndrome, rotator cuff disease, instability and dislocation, inflammatory and degenerative arthritis, adhesive capsulitis, and calcific tendonitis. This chapter addresses these disorders as well as the anatomy of the shoulder. As imaging is critical to the accurate assessment of shoulder pain, examples are given to aid understanding of the pathology. It is imperative that the clinician has a comprehensive knowledge of this joint due to the prevalence of shoulder pain and the importance of accurate diagnosis in improving outcomes.

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