A shoulder sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments of the shoulder. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.
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Shoulder sprains may be caused by:
Here are some factors that may raise your risk:
Having this problem may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and how you hurt your shoulder. The stability of your shoulder joint and the severity of the injury will be checked.
Pictures may be taken of your shoulder. This can be done with:
Shoulder sprains are graded from 1 to 3:
The shoulder will need time to heal. Activities that cause pain or put extra stress on the shoulder should be stopped.
Ice may help reduce swelling and pain in the first few days after the injury.
To manage pain, your doctor may advise:
Note: Aspirin is not advised for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Extra support may be needed to help protect, support, and keep the shoulder in line. This may mean:
You may not be able to prevent a shoulder sprain. There are steps you can take to lower your chance of getting one, such as:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Benjamin HJ, Hang BT. Common Acute Upper Extremity Injuries In Sports. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine. 2007;8(1):15-30.
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
Shoulder problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Shoulder_Problems/default.asp. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Shoulder separation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00033. Updated October 2017. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS Last Updated: 6/22/2015