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Orthopaedic Center

Anatomy of the Shoulder

Anatomy of the shoulder
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The shoulder is made up of several layers, including the following:

  • bones - the collarbone (clavicle), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the upper arm bone (humerus).
  • joints - facilitate movement, including the following:
    • clavicle
    • acromioclavicular (AC) joint (where the clavicle meets the acromion)
    • shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) - a ball-and-socket joint that facilitates forward, circular, and backward movement of the shoulder.
  • ligaments - a white, shiny, flexible band of fibrous tissue that binds joints together and connects various bones and cartilage, including the following:
    • joint capsule - a group of ligaments that connect the humerus to the socket of the shoulder joint on the scapula to stabilize the shoulder and keep it from dislocating.
    • ligaments that attach the clavicle to the acromion
    • ligaments that connect the clavicle to the scapula by attaching to the coracoid process
  • acromion - the roof (highest point) of the shoulder that is formed by a part of the scapula.
  • tendons - the tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. The rotator cuff tendons are a group of tendons that connect the deepest layer of muscles to the humerus.
  • muscles (to help support and rotate the shoulder in many directions)
  • bursa - a closed space between two moving surfaces that has a small amount of lubricating fluid inside; located between the rotator cuff muscle layer and the outer layer of large, bulky muscles.
  • rotator cuff - composed of tendons, the rotator cuff (and associated muscles) holds the ball of the glenohumeral joint at the top of the upper arm bone (humerus).

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