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Physical Exam: Dr. Rob Examines Your Shoulder

SOFT When you were last enraptured by my physical exam series, I was explaining the different directions doctors use to confuse themselves and everyone else.  I am happy to leave that land of relativity and now re-embark on the actual human body.  I am sure this relativistic view of direction was invented by some liberal anatomist intent on socializing the human body.  It is a stop on the road to death panels, in my opinion.

It’s good to get that posterior to me.

My distraction (I get distracted, you know) happened as I was trying to explain how the shoulder works.  Since the shoulder moves in so many directions and with such huge angles, I felt it was necessary to totally confuse you and so hide any chance you would pick up my ignorance.  It’s always good to keep your readers snowed.  So, after spending a whole post making poems about the shoulder (that will no doubt go down in the anals annals of poetry about joints) and another post about the confusing directions we doctors use to confuse other doctors, I will now talk about the actual exam of the shoulder.

As you probably have been taught, the shoulder is the joint that attaches your arms to your body.  Some people refer to the top of their torso as their shoulders (as in “shoulder straps”), but this is not what I am talking about.  The shoulder is supposed to be the joint between three bones:

  1. The humerus  – which is the long bone in the upper arm, and got its name because of its habit of playing practical jokes on the ulna.  The other bones are always inviting the humerus to parties.
  2. The clavicle – also known as the collarbone.  This bone actually looks nothing like a collar, and it resents the implication.
  3. The scapula – called the shoulder blade.  The collarbone is jealous because the scapula has a much cooler nickname.  This causes the scapula to snicker often at the clavicle’s wimpy nickname.



Examining the shoulder Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

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