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Healthy Shoulder

The healthy shoulder is a complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments (connect bone to bone), tendons (connect muscle to bone), and cartilage. The bones that form the shoulder joint are the humerus (upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). The top end of the humerus has a large round surface called the humeral head, which rides against the scapula in a small socket called the glenoid. Think of this connection as a golf ball on a tee. The limited contact area is what allows near unlimited range of motion in a healthy shoulder.

Rockville, Maryland

The humeral head and the glenoid are covered with a cushioning tissue called cartilage. Cartilage is a tough lubricating tissue that allows the bones to painlessly glide against each other. The shoulder joint is encapsulated by a group of muscles and ligaments called the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff helps stabilize the shoulder joint and provide movement.

All patient education materials are provided by and have been reviewed by our Advisory Board of leading Orthopedic Surgeons to ensure accuracy. All materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your orthopedic surgeon. Any medical decisions should be made after consulting a qualified physician. This site includes links to other web sites. takes no responsibility for the content or information contained in the linked sites.

Locations & Directions

Camalier Building
10215 Fernwood Road
Suite 502
Bethesda, MD 20817

Washington Joint Institute

Highline at Greensboro District
8401 Greensboro Drive
Suite 120
McLean, VA 22102