Role of radiographs in shoulder pathology: A clinical review

Oded Hershkovich, Shachar Shapira, Yaron Sela, Itamar B. Botser

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Shoulder pain is a very common complaint, and affects as many as 20% of all people at some point during their lives. Despite the availability of more advanced imaging modalities, X-ray remains the first imaging test to be performed in the investigation of any shoulder pain. However, with their increasing availability, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging have in recent years become first-line techniques for the diagnostic imaging of the shoulder. Moreover, ultrasound of the shoulder is increasingly performed in lieu of radiography. Nevertheless, many patients who visit a shoulder specialist for their pain are referred by a family physician or community orthopedist without an X-ray having ever been performed. Shoulder pain can be caused by many conditions, including rotator cuff tears, calcification within the tendons of the rotator cuff, stiff shoulder, subacromial impingement, space-occupying lesions, degenerative changes, and rheumatoid arthritis. This paper reviews various types of shoulder injury and the radiographic symptomatology of each, with the goal of encouraging the use of radiography by demonstrating the importance of this basic tool in the diagnostic process for these injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalReports in Medical Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Imaging
  • Pain
  • Pathology
  • Radiographs
  • Shoulder


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