Shoulder Separation

Shoulder Separation

Description Of The Injury: A shoulder separation is the stretching or tearing of ligaments at the acromioclavicular joint. This area, otherwise known as the AC joint, is where the clavicle bone connects to the scapula. The severity of the separation is diagnosed with x-rays, and is then categorized from Type I to Type VI, with the latter being a severe complete rupture of the ligament. A shoulder separation may most often occur from an acute impact to the front of the shoulder or by falling on an outstretched hand.

Injury Symptoms: The classic symptoms of a shoulder separation include pain, local tenderness, inflammation, noticeable swelling and bruising as well as possible minor deformity.

Additional Information

Home Treatments:

Minor or moderate shoulder separations can be treated non-surgically by resting the affected limb. Ice shoulder be administered 20 minutes at a time, 4-8 times per day for the first 2-3 days after the injury has occurred. Later, if the area feels stiff, heat packs can be used to loosen the area. A non steroidal anti inflammatory medication should be used to help alleviate pain and inflammation. A sling is recommended for several weeks.

Professional Medical Treatments:

A specific should sling may be provided for a few weeks use. Cortisone injections may be administered to initially help reduce the inflammation. If the separation is actually a considerable or complete ligament rupture, surgical repair may be required.

Physical Therapy and Exercises:

Exercises must be performed in order to recover total range of motion and strength of the shoulder. This may primarily involve wand exercises, where one holds a stick or wand with both hands, palms down and performs flexion, extension and external and internal rotation exercises. These exercises help keep the elbows stable and allow the shoulder muscles and ligaments to go through its range of motion.

Exercise Techniques to Prevent Injury:

The aforementioned wand exercises may be used to help prevent a shoulder separation from occurring. The exercise may be done with a weightlifting barbell for muscle strengthening purposes. Shoulder shrugs, internal rotation and external rotation, front raises and lateral raises with dumbbells will also keep the shoulder area strong.

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