Outpatient Center Stanford Medicine

Shoulder & Elbow

Shoulder Pain & Problems

What is the shoulder?

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

Shoulder pain may be localized in a specific area or may spread to areas around the shoulder or down the arm.

What are some of the different types of shoulder problems?

Common shoulder problems include the following:

What causes shoulder problems?

Although the shoulder is the most movable joint in the body, it is also an unstable joint because of its range-of-motion. Because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the socket of the shoulder, it is susceptible to injury. The shoulder joint must also be supported by soft tissues - muscles, tendons, and ligaments - which are also subject to injury, overuse, and under use.
Degenerative conditions and other diseases in the body may also contribute to shoulder problems, or generate pain that travels along nerves to the shoulder.

How are shoulder problems diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination (to determine range-of-motion, location of pain, and level of joint instability/stability), diagnostic procedures for shoulder problems may include the following:

Treatment of shoulder problems:

Specific treatment of shoulder problems will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

Elbow Pain and Problems

Anatomy of the elbow The elbow is a hinge joint between the lower end of the humerus bone in the upper arm and the upper end of the radius and ulnar bones in the lower arm. The arm is bent and rotated at the elbow by the biceps muscles in the upper arm. Ligaments located at the front, back, and sides of the elbow help stabilize the joint.
Common elbow problems include the following:

There are many types of elbow problems that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Stanford Medicine Resources: