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Shoulder Sprain

Definition

A shoulder sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that stabilize the shoulder. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that cross joints and connect bones to each other.
Capsule of Glenohumeral Joint
Shoulder Joint Capsule
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Causes

Shoulder sprains may be caused by:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of a shoulder sprain include:

Symptoms

Shoulder sprain may cause:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and how you injured your shoulder. The stability of your shoulder joint and the severity of the injury will be assessed.
Tests may include:
Shoulder sprains are graded according to their severity:

Treatment

Treatment includes:

Acute Care

Rest
Your shoulder will need time to heal. Avoid activities that cause pain or put extra stress on your shoulder.
Cold
Ice may help decrease swelling and pain in the first few days after the injury.
Pain Relief Medications
To manage pain, your doctor may recommend:
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen
  • Topical pain medication—creams or patches that are applied to the skin
  • Prescription pain relievers
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.

Recovery

Extra support may be needed to help protect, support, and keep your shoulder in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include:

Prevention

Shoulder sprains may not always be preventable. There are steps you can take to reduce your chance of getting a shoulder sprain. These include:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

References

Benjamin HJ, Hang BT. Common Acute Upper Extremity Injuries In Sports. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine. 2007;8(1):15-30.

Shoulder problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Shoulder%5FProblems/default.asp. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 22, 2015.

Shoulder separation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00033. Updated October 2007. Accessed September 11, 2013.

1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, et al. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.

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