The biomechanics of the glenohumeral joint depend on the interaction of both static and dynamic-stabilizing structures. Static stabilizers include the bony anatomy, negative intra-articular pressure, the glenoid labrum, and the glenohumeral ligaments along with the joint capsule. The dynamic-stabilizing structures include the rotator cuff muscles and the other muscular structures surrounding the shoulder joint. The combined effect of these stabilizers is to support the multiple degrees of motion within the glenohumeral joint. The goal of this article is to review how these structures interact to provide optimal stability and how failure of some of these mechanisms can lead to shoulder joint pathology. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.