Font Size

Shoulder Separation (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for a Shoulder Separation

It is often difficult to tell a moderately severe shoulder separation from a fracture of one of the shoulder bones, an injury in the rotator cuff, a torn labrum (ligaments that hold the shoulder in place), or a dislocation of the shoulder (in which the bone in the upper arm [humerus] comes out of the shoulder joint).

Signs of a severe shoulder separation include severe pain, limited range of motion, popping sensation with slight motion, and cold or numb fingers.

Because some cases of severe shoulder injury may give you only mild pain with a slight decrease in mobility, people with a shoulder injury often need physician's examination and an X-ray.

Mild tenderness to the top of the shoulder may be consistent with a minor bruise. If these symptoms go away with ice, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin), this injury is unlikely to produce serious or chronic problems.

Severe pain, cold or numb fingers, severe or persistent decreased range of motion, and deformity of the shoulder indicate the presence of a potentially serious shoulder injury. If these signs and symptoms are present, go to the hospital's emergency department for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/11/2015

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Acromioclavicular Joint Separations »

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is a diarthrodial articulation with an interposed fibrocartilaginous meniscal disk that links the hyaline cartilage articular surfaces of the acromial process and the clavicle.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary