Carolinas HealthCare System

Shoulder and Elbow Orthopaedic Surgery

CMC Orthopaedic Surgery's physicians, providing care in Lincolnton and Denver, NC, are well trained in the numerous surgical techniques and non-surgical treatment plans designed to restore function and range of motion to patients' lives. Whether you suffer from years of use or a traumatic injury, a chronic condition or a recent development, our specialty-trained physicians understand the intricate workings of these joints.

They have spent years dedicating their practice to the new technology, continuing medical education, and diagnosis and treatment for conditions of the upper extremity.


The shoulder consists of several joints which connect the upper limbs to the rest of the skeleton and provide a large range of movement. The shoulder joint includes three bones and two joints. The bones are the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The joints are the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the glenohumeral joint which is the traditional "ball-and-socket" that allows complete range of motion.

The bones of the shoulder are held together by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons (tough cords of tissue that attach the shoulder muscles to bone) and ligaments (attach bones to bones) provide additional strength and stability.

The rotator cuff muscles hold the "ball" in the "socket" and provide mobility and strength to the shoulder joint. Two bursae cushion and protect the rotator cuff from the bony arch of the acromion and allow smooth movement of the joint.

All of these components of your shoulder, along with the muscles of your upper body, work together to manage the stress your shoulder receives as you extend, flex, lift and throw. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body, and is very unstable. It is easily injured by impact or overuse. With a design that provides maximum mobility and range of motion, the shoulder is extremely complex.

Rotary Cuff Image

There are four muscle tendons that connect to the shoulder that make up the rotator cuff. Together these four tendons stabilize the upper arm bone to the shoulder socket and allow the wide range of motion in the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Tears and Treatment Options

Rotator Cuff Tear: A muscle or tendon tears in the cuff surrounding the shoulder joint.

Shoulder Arthritis: Deterioration of the joint's cartilage and lining that causes pain and swelling.

Shoulder Impingement: The rotator cuff becomes pinched between two shoulder bones when the arm is raised.

Shoulder Separation: This occurs when the normal alignment is disrupted in the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint). Watch this video on shoulder joint dislocation.

SLAP Tear: An injury to the labrum, the shoulder socket lining, where it attaches to the bicep.

Traumatic Shoulder Instability: The normal ball in socket formation is disrupted from several shoulder dislocations.


The elbow is a hinge joint made up of the humerus, ulna and radius. The unique positioning and interaction of the bones in the joint allows for a small amount of rotation as well as hinge action. This rotation is easily noticed during activities such as hand-to-mouth eating motions.

Some of the most common injuries to the elbow include:

Elbow Bursitis: The bursa, which allows movement of skin over bone, becomes inflamed and fills with fluid.

Forearm Fracture: The radius and/or ulna in the forearm can be broken from a fall or a direct blow.

Osteoarthritis of the Elbow: The cartilage deteriorates in the joint and the surface loses its ability to prevent shock to the joint.

Rupture of the Distal Biceps Tendon at the Elbow: The tendon pulls away from where it is attached to the forearm and causes a rupture.

Tennis Elbow: A painful irritation in the elbow that is often caused by overuse.

About Carolinas HealthCare System
Who We Are
Community Benefit
Corporate Financial Information
Diversity & Inclusion
Annual Report
Patient Links
Pay Your Bill
Hospital Pre-Registration
Patient Rights
Financial Assistance
Quality & Value Reports
Join Carolinas HealthCare System
Physician Careers

For Employees
Carolinas Connect
Connect with Us
Watch Carolinas HealthCare on YoutubeFollow Carolinas HealthCare on TwitterLike Carolinas HealthCare on FacebookContact Carolinas HealthCareJoin Carolinas HealthCare on LinkedInGo to our mobile website.