The human shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone) as well as associated muscles, ligaments and tendons. The articulations between the bones of the shoulder make up the shoulder joints. The major joint of the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint, which "shoulder joint" generally refers to. In human anatomy, the shoulder joint comprises the part of the body where the humerus attaches to the scapula, the head sitting in the glenoid fossa. The shoulder is the group of structures in the region of the joint.

There are two kinds of cartilage in the joint. The first type is the white cartilage on the ends of the bones (called articular cartilage) which allows the bones to glide and move on each other. When this type of cartilage starts to wear out (a process called arthritis), the joint becomes painful and stiff. The labrum is a second kind of cartilage in the shoulder which is distinctly different from the articular cartilage. This cartilage is more fibrous or rigid than the cartilage on the ends of the ball and socket. Also, this cartilage is also found only around the socket where it is attached.

The shoulder must be mobile enough for the wide range actions of the arms and hands, but also stable enough to allow for actions such as lifting, pushing and pulling. The compromise between mobility and stability results in a large number of shoulder problems not faced by other joints such as the hip.

Read more about ShoulderEvolutionary Variation, Additional Images

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Famous quotes containing the word shoulder:

    I positively like the sense, when I dine out, and stoop to rescue a falling handkerchief, that I am not going to rub my shoulder against a heart. What are hearts doing on sleeves?
    Katharine Fullerton Gerould (1879–1944)

    A political leader must keep looking over his shoulder all the time to see if the boys are still there. If they aren’t still there, he’s no longer a political leader.
    Bernard Baruch (1870–1965)

    Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and said, Bob, why are you resisting me? I said, I’m not resisting you! He said, You gonna follow me? I said, I’ve never thought about that before! He said, When you’re not following me, you’re resisting me.
    Bob Dylan [Robert Allen Zimmerman] (b. 1941)