Separated Shoulder Treatment Options for Residents of Lafayette, LA & Nearby Communities
A shoulder “separates” when the ligament that connects the collarbone (clavicle) to the shoulder blade (acromion) becomes overly stretched or torn. Without a secure anchor, the collarbone may drift out of position and push against the skin near the top of the shoulder.
A separated shoulder can result from a blow to the point of the shoulder or a fall onto an outstretched arm. Therefore, it is common among individuals who participate in contact sports, such as football and hockey, or activities that involve frequent falls, such as skiing and gymnastics.
What does a separated shoulder feel like?
In addition to pain around the end of the collarbone, a separated shoulder can cause swelling, bruising, arm muscle weakness, limited range of motion, and a visible bump at the top of the shoulder.
If you’ve injured your shoulder and suspect that it may be separated, you should seek prompt medical attention to help prevent the damage from worsening. In Lafayette, Louisiana, you can consult with Peter D. Vizzi, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist, and avid athlete himself. To evaluate your injury, Dr. Vizzi will perform a physical examination and review an X-ray, which can be performed on site, or he may order other studies such as an MRI, if needed.
How is a separated shoulder treated?
A minor shoulder separation may resolve on its own within a few weeks, while a more severe separation may take several months to fully heal. In the meantime, any related discomfort can usually be managed with conservative therapies, such as:
- Rest and activity modifications – All body positions and movements that aggravate the pain, such as crossing the affected arm in front of the body, should be avoided as much as possible.
- Immobilization – A sling can be worn to temporarily immobilize the arm and reduce pressure on the shoulder during the healing process.
- Cold therapy – An ice pack can be applied to the separated shoulder to reduce painful swelling.
- Physical therapy – Targeted stretching and strengthening exercises can help restore shoulder flexibility and strength.
- Medications – Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can help alleviate shoulder pain.
If a separated shoulder causes severe discomfort or involves a fractured clavicle, Dr. Vizzi may discuss surgical treatment to repair the torn ligament or reposition the displaced bone.
To help ensure proper healing and a full return to activity, a separated shoulder should receive prompt medical attention. If you’ve sustained a shoulder injury, contact Dr. Vizzi’s office in Lafayette, LA, to request a consultation today.