A shoulder separation is a painful injury to the ligaments around the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the collarbone and the shoulder blade meet. While it can be treated, efforts should be made to avoid another occurrence of this injury. With preventive measures in place, you can avoid future shoulder separation incidents and preserve the health of the shoulder ligaments.
To prevent a recurrence, it helps to know what incidents can result in shoulder separation. We will discuss more of this below, including the causes, treatments, and tips for preventing a future episode of shoulder separation.
What Are Common Causes of Shoulder Separation?
A shoulder separation is usually caused by falling on an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the area. This type of injury is very common in athletes and individuals who engage in recreational sports.
A shoulder separation is a common occurrence among:
- Football players
- Hockey players
- Mixed martial artists
- Those who are a part of a car accident
The symptoms of shoulder separation include:
- Pain, particularly intense during the time of the injury
- Bruising visible on the skin
- Weakness in the shoulder or arm
- Numbness in the affected area
- Limited mobility or range of motion
- Tenderness around the shoulder and collarbone
- A tingling sensation experienced in the shoulder
- Notable bump usually found at the top of the shoulder
Older adults may develop shoulder separation due to weakened ligaments caused by aging. A history of shoulder separation increases the risk of a recurrence.
How Can a Shoulder Separation Injury Be Prevented?
The first time may not always be preventable, but efforts should be focused on preventing a recurrence. Shoulder separation may increase the likelihood of shoulder arthritis.
#1 Fully rehabilitate an original injury
A complete recovery is critical to avoid a recurrence of shoulder separation. Work with your orthopedic doctor and physical therapist and ensure a gradual return to play progression.
#2 Strengthen your shoulder muscles
Strong shoulder muscles can help support the ligaments that connect the collarbone and shoulder blade. Shoulder exercises like bench presses, lateral raises, and push-ups can help build muscle and prevent future injuries.
#3 Wear protective gear
If you are participating in a high-impact sport, wear appropriate protective gear like shoulder pads to cushion your shoulder from falls or hits.
#4 Take it slow
If you are starting a new fitness routine or activity, gradually increase the intensity and duration to ease your body into the new routine.
#5 Be mindful of your body mechanics
Good posture and proper form during physical activity are essential for preventing injury. It is essential to watch your body mechanics and ensure that you are using proper form to reduce stress on your shoulders.
#6 Get regular physicals
Regular physical exams can help diagnose underlying conditions that may lead to a separated shoulder.
How is a Separated Shoulder Treated?
The initial approach to treating a separated shoulder usually involves using ice and pain relievers, taping and padding, and the use of a sling. Surgery is usually not recommended unless a ligament is completely torn and the athlete has injured their dominant shoulder.
If you suffer a separated shoulder, seek the evaluation of a sports medicine doctor for a complete evaluation.
Shoulder Separation Treatment in San Antonio, TX
The orthopedic surgeons at Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine have specialized training in the treatment of shoulder injuries in athletes and active individuals.
Our sports medicine doctors are up to date on the latest treatments to give you the best possible outcomes and quickest recovery from shoulder separation. We can determine the best approach based on the results of our assessment of your injury.
To schedule an appointment with a top shoulder doctor in San Antonio, call our office today at (210) 692-7400 or use our convenient online request form. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality shoulder separation treatment in San Antonio.