The shoulder consists of many structures and moves more than most joints; as such, it is vulnerable to an array of issues. Young, athletic people and older individuals are particularly prone to shoulder injuries, one of the most common of which is shoulder impingement (shoulder impingement syndrome or swimmer's shoulder). The condition can be extremely painful, depending on its severity. Experts classify shoulder impingement at several stages based on its progression and damage.


1. Shoulder Anatomy

Three bones make up the shoulder: the humerus, scapula, and clavicle, generally recognized as the upper arm bone, shoulder blade, and collarbone, respectively. The rotator cuff consists of several muscles and tendons that cover the head of the humerus and connect it to the scapula, holding the arm in the shoulder socket. At the top of the shoulder is the acromion. Between this bone and the rotator cuff, the bursa, a lubricating sac, allows the rotator cuff tendons to move around more freely. Each of these structures plays a role in shoulder impingement.

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