What Is A Shoulder Sprain?

Shoulder ligaments sprain

A shoulder sprain is a tear or stretching of any of the shoulder ligaments which support the shoulder joint.



Symptoms vary depending on how bad your injury is. They range from mild to very severe and include:

  • Sudden onset shoulder pain, usually at the front
  • Tenderness when pressing in on the area of injury
  • Rapid swelling
  • Shoulder instability

What is a sprained shoulder?

A sprained shoulder is an acute shoulder injury caused by a force on the arm which stretches the shoulder ligaments. Usually, this involves the arm being forced back when it is raised to 90 degrees at the shoulder.

This causes stretching or tearing of the ligaments or capsule at the front of the shoulder.

This is not a particularly common injury as the ligaments of the shoulder are very strong and the muscles & tendons at the front of the shoulder, such as the pectorals are more likely to be injured first.


The treatment is to rest the arm. A sling may be useful to take the weight off the shoulder. Apply ice or cold therapy products to ease the pain, bleeding, swelling, and inflammation.

See a sports injury specialist who can assess the injury. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and refer for investigations such as MRI scans if necessary.

A professional therapist may use electrotherapy treatments such as ultrasound or laser to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation as well as advise on a rehabilitation program to regain full movement and strength, once the shoulder is pain-free.

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