American Hospital Blog

Separated Shoulder

Separated Shoulder

A state of shoulder separations happens when the ligaments between the collarbone and shoulder blade tear. It mainly occurs due to accidents or falls that cause damage to the shoulder or resulting from a car crash and some sports injury.

In mild cases, these ligaments are usually stretched, but ligaments tear when there is critical injury.

Generally, people heal completely within two to 12 weeks without requiring surgery, merely with conservative remedies like rest, ice, and pain relievers. However, severe conditions of a separated shoulder might require surgery.

Understand the symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Limited shoulder movement due to pain, not weakness
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Bump and swelling at the top point of the shoulder
  • Deformed shoulder

Consult the doctor

When there is persistent tenderness or pain at the top of the shoulder, you must seek your doctor's advice.

Know the causes

Generally, the cause of a separated shoulder is hurt or fall directly on your shoulder or blow to the point of your shoulder. The damage can be just a stretch or tear of ligaments between your collarbone and shoulder blade.

Recognize the risks

Sports that impose a high risk of falls like downhill skiing, gymnastics, volleyball, football, and hockey may put the players at risk of a separated shoulder.

Associated complexities

People can recover entirely from a separated shoulder with conservative treatment. However, if continued shoulder pain occurs, it may indicate:

  • A critical separation like a significant displacement or fracture of the collarbone,
  • Development of arthritis in your shoulder,
  • Damage to other structures around your shoulder, like the rotator cuff.

Measures for prevention

  • Lessen the chances of getting injuries through these steps, as a separated shoulder is a painful and debilitating condition.
  • Stop physical activity when you experience shoulder pain.
  • Give a regular stretch to your shoulder muscles and exercise daily.
  • Apply ice on your shoulder after physical activity if you had a shoulder separation in the past.
  • Always wear protective padding that protects you during sport that involves the risk of fall.

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