Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I thought I had a shoulder problem. The doctor says it's the AC joint. My shoulder still hurts. What's the difference between these two problems?


The true shoulder joint is where the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) inserts into a shallow cup in the shoulder blade. The cup is called the glenoid cavity. It's a ball and socket joint.

ust above the true shoulder joint is a bony projection coming around from the back of the shoulder blade. This piece of bone is called the acromion. The end of the acromion meets the collarbone to form a shelf over the shoulder.

Pain from any of the structures around or above the shoulder joint can cause pain that seems like it's coming from the joint. A careful exam by your doctor can pinpoint the exact cause. This is helpful information so the right problem is treated.

Judie Walton, BSc, PhD, et al. Diagnostic Values of Tests for Acromioclavicular Joint Pain. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 4. Pp. 807-812.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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