Separated Shoulder 101: All The Basics You Need To Know In 2022


A separated shoulder is a fairly common injury that can occur in a number of ways. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from one, it is important to know the basics about the injury so you can get the right treatment. In this blog post, we will discuss all of the essential information you need to know about separated shoulders. We will cover everything from causes and symptoms to treatment and recovery. Keep reading for more information!

What Is A Separated Shoulder?

A separated shoulder is an injury to the connective tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint. This type of injury is also known as acromioclavicular joint separation or AC separation. A separated shoulder most often occurs when you fall on your outstretched hand, which forces the shoulder out of its socket. However, the injury can also occur due to a direct blow to the shoulder or a sudden impact to the chest.

When the connective tissue surrounding the AC joint is torn, it results in a partial or complete separation of the bone from the clavicle (collarbone). A partial separation means that there is still some connection between the bones, while a complete separation means that they are completely disconnected. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may be diagnosed with a first-, second-, or third-degree separation.

What Are The Causes of A Separated Shoulder?

There are a number of different things that can cause a separated shoulder. The most common cause is falling on an outstretched hand, but the injury can also occur due to a direct blow to the shoulder or chest. Other causes include:

  • Sudden impact to the shoulder or chest
  • A direct blow to the shoulder
  • Falling on an outstretched hand

What Are The Symptoms of A Separated Shoulder?

The symptoms of a separated shoulder vary depending on the severity of your injury. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the shoulder, especially when moving it
  • Swelling and bruising around the injured area
  • Tenderness around the AC joint
  • Weakness in the arm

The most common symptom of a separated shoulder is pain in the shoulder area. You may also feel tenderness and swelling around the injury site. In some cases, you may notice that your shoulder appears to be drooping or sagging. This is due to the fact that the muscles surrounding the joint are no longer able to support it properly. If you have suffered a complete separation, you may also see a visible lump at the top of your shoulder where the bones have disconnected.

If you suspect that you have injured your shoulder, it is important to seek medical attention right away. A doctor will be able to properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.

How Is A Separated Shoulder Treated?

The treatment for a separated shoulder will vary depending on the severity of your injury. In most cases, however, conservative methods such as rest, ice, and elevation are sufficient. You may also be prescribed pain medication to help manage your discomfort. If your symptoms are severe or do not improve with conservative treatment, you may require surgery to repair the damage.

What Is The Recovery Time For A Separated Shoulder?

The recovery time for a separated shoulder can vary depending on the extent of your injury. However, most people make a full recovery within four to six weeks with conservative treatment. If you require surgery, your recovery time will be longer. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend all of your physical therapy appointments to ensure a successful recovery.

Separated shoulders are fairly common injuries that can be quite painful. However, with the right treatment, most people make a full recovery within a few weeks. If you think you may have injured your shoulder, it is important to seek medical attention right away. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, you will be on your way to recovery in no time!

Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?

Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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