A shoulder sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the shoulder. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold bones to each other.
A shoulder sprain is caused by trauma. The most common way this happens is by:
Things that may raise the risk are:
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how you hurt your shoulder. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the shoulder.
It can be hard to tell a shoulder sprain from a fracture or dislocation. Pictures of the shoulder may be taken. This can be done with:
Treatment will depend on the joint involved and how much it is injured. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:
Some people may need surgery to repair a ligament that is torn.
The risk of a shoulder sprain may be lowered by:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Derry S, Moore RA, et al. 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. Accessed October 12, 2020.
Shoulder separation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00033. Accessed October 12, 2020.
Topical NSAIDs. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/drug-review/topical-nsaids. Accessed October 12, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT Last Updated: 6/4/2021