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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Shoulder Separation Injury in Active Individuals

Do you lead an active lifestyle? If you do, then you probably worry about injuries that can dislocate, sprain or fracture your bones and joints. The fear is well-founded, indeed. Trauma to the shoulder is among the most common among such injuries. These include the separation of shoulder joints, a broken collarbone, or a fractured shoulder blade.

A shoulder separation injury happens when there is trauma to the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) where the clavicle and the highest point of your shoulder meet. Usually, the separation of the AC joint happens when you fall directly on your shoulder.

You should never confuse a shoulder separation injury with a shoulder dislocation. Although symptoms may be similar at the onset of the injury, dislocation occurs at the large joint where the shoulder attaches itself to the arm. Separation, as mentioned previously, occurs at the junction where the collarbone meets the shoulder.

Causes and Risk Factors

Aside from falling directly on your shoulder, another common cause of shoulder separation injuries is a direct blow to the shoulder while engaged in contact sports or through an accident. In fact, the only reported risk factor of shoulder separation injuries is participating in contact sports such as hockey and football as well as those that involve falls like volleyball, downhill skiing, and gymnastics.

Nearly 50% of shoulder-related injuries are shoulder (AC) separation injuries are sustained through contact sports.

Signs and Symptoms
How will you know if you’re suffering from a separated shoulder? Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for:
  • Weakness of the arm or shoulder
  • Bruising or swelling of the shoulder
  • Pain or tenderness at the end of the collarbone
  • A bump at the top of your shoulder
  • Restricted movement of the shoulder
As soon as you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical help. Treatment options for this injury may include undergoing physical therapy, performing some range of motion exercises, wearing shoulder braces, and taking prescription medicines.

Physical Therapy Treatments for Shoulder Separation

  • Most treatments usually start with exercise. The shoulder exercises will be painful at the beginning, however, they are essential to re-strengthening the shoulder gradually. Remember to avoid performing any motions that pull too hard or jerk the shoulder.
  • Shoulder separation treatment benefits greatly from adduction exercises. These are done to strengthen motion towards the chest. You can also do this at home by taking a pillow and holding it in between your chest and arms. Begin by squeezing the pillow lightly. Aim to hold it for five seconds or as long as you can. Increase the duration as you get stronger.
  • You can also try performing flexion exercises, which will strengthen the shoulder muscles responsible for moving your arm away from your body. Do this by standing next to a wall with your elbow pressing against it. Now push your fist against the wall while keeping your arm bent. Keep this up for five seconds and then release.
Range of Motion Exercises for the Shoulder
When your shoulder has regained strength, it is time attempt range of motion exercises. The flexing capacity of the shoulder is enhanced by standing and keeping the injured arm straight at your side. Begin by raising your arm then place it over your head. Keep this position for at least five seconds. Keep on repeating this step at least 10 times.

Improving the extension of the arm is also essential. Do this by holding your injured arm against your side then move it behind your back while keeping your elbow straight. Do not bend your elbows as it defeats the purpose of extension exercises. Keep this position for at least five seconds. As you continue this step, try holding it for a longer period. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

The last step for the range of motion exercises is geared towards improving the outward movement of your arm. Bring your injured arm up until it’s positioned like a wing. Hold the position for five seconds and repeat ten times.

Wear Shoulder Braces
A shoulder brace provides compression, rest, and support to allow healing of the shoulder. Choosing shoulder braces that are equipped with adjustable fasteners can allow the orthopedic doctor to control or change the range of motion of your shoulder, ensuring that only allowable movement is done during rehabilitation. You can also wear a shoulder brace to protect and prevent your shoulder injury from recurring.

Shoulder injuries can put a dent in your athletic career. Heeding your doctor’s advice when it comes to managing your shoulder injury will be the best course of action if you want your shoulder to recovery in the shortest span of time.

This is a guest blog entry.

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