• Laura S. GreenlundEmail author


The shoulder is a common site of pain, and point-of-care ultrasound is a very useful tool for examining the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder to determine its cause. Used along with physical examination, it compares well with more expensive and resource-intensive imaging [1, 2]. Typically, a linear mid-frequency (3–16 Hz) probe or curvilinear (1–7 Hz) probe is used. Depending on the site of pain and the mechanism of injury, different scanning techniques may be utilized. Ultrasound examination of the anterior, lateral, superior, or posterior shoulder will be used to visualize specific structures that are suspected to be injured, torn, arthritic, or inflamed (Figs. 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 2.11, and 2.12; Videos 2.1 and 2.2).


Shoulder Rotator cuff Glenohumeral joint Biceps tendon Acromioclavicular joint 

Supplementary material

Video 2.1

Movement of the glenohumeral joint can be assessed by ultrasound. This video demonstrates normal joint movement with external rotation of the humerus. A frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) occurs when adhesions restrict the normal movement of the joint (MP4 1069 kb)

Video 2.2

An assessment for subacromial impingement of the supraspinatus tendon of the rotator cuff can be carried out with dynamic ultrasound imaging by having the patient abduct the shoulder while visualizing how the tendon slides under the acromion. This patient has normal movement with no impingement (MP4 1087 kb)


  1. 1.
    Levine BD, Motamedi K, Seeger LL. Imaging of the shoulder: a comparison of MRI and ultrasound. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012;11:239–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sheehan SE, Coburn JA, Singh H, Vanness DJ, Sittig DF, Moberg DP, et al. Reducing unnecessary shoulder MRI examinations within a capitated health care system: a potential role for shoulder ultrasound. J Am Coll Radiol. 2016;13(7):780.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Primary Care Internal MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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