The glenohumeral joint is a complex joint that lacks innate stability; the humeral head relies heavily on the ligaments of the shoulder and the rotator cuff to maintain stability. The humeral head stabilizes against the glenoid fossa, which is the lateral articular extension of the scapula. The glenoid is a relatively shallow dish that has multiple morphologies. It is located on the lateral scapula and is the socket portion of the shoulder joint that meets to articulate the humeral head. Fractures to the glenoid are often seen in association with various shoulder instability patterns, although isolated fracture can occur less commonly following direct axial loading forces to the glenoid vault or rim.
The glenoid fossa fractures are often associated with other injuries and are the result of blunt trauma or high-velocity sporting injuries where the humeral head forcefully abuts the glenoid fossa. There have been several glenoid fracture classifications based on the mechanism of injury, location of the fracture, and specific fracture pattern following injury. Traumatic glenoid injuries encompass a wide range of clinical severity and complexity. Patient outcomes vary accordingly, with milder forms of injury patterns healing with excellent results and full recovery expected following nonoperative management alone, to complex instability patterns resulting in poor patient outcomes even following optimal comprehensive management.