An in-depth interview with Dr. James Shaffer – Part 1 of 4

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Dr. James Shaffer, board certified orthopedic surgeon

Dr. James Shaffer, Shoulder Surgeon

Dr. James Shaffer was recently interviewed on WEEU’s “Health Talk” program.  Here is the first of four excerpts from the interview, full of helpful information relating to shoulder treatment and surgery.

Question: What are the main structures of the shoulder?

Dr. Shaffer: The shoulder is made up of three bones. The upper arm bone known as the humerus, the shoulder blade, also known as the scapula, which also includes the socket part of the shoulder joint, and the collar bone or the clavicle. There are a number of muscles, you may have heard of the rotator cuff, which is made of four muscles. The primary job of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the ball and socket joint at the shoulder, and it’s really critical that function, in part, due to the nature of the joint. Unlike the hip, which is a deep socket and has pretty good stability just from the boney anatomy, in the shoulder the socket is very, very flat; closer to a golf ball on a tee than really a true socket. With movement and stress, it’s really critical that rotator cuff is there to keep the ball in the socket. Without it, the ball tends to slip and slide around causing wear and tear and a lot of pain. Other important structures would be the ligaments of the shoulder, which can be torn in a dislocation. The shoulder really is the joint in the body that has the greatest total range of motion, but still needs to be stable in order to support the kind of loads it supports.


Look for the next excerpt from Dr. Shaffer‘s interview tomorrow!


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