Sprained shoulder


(Distorsio art. humeroscapularis)

The shoulder joint consists of the head of the humerus (caput humeri) and the articular surface on the shoulder blade (cavitas glenoidalis). Along the edge of the articular surface on the shoulder blade is a meniscus (labrum glenoidale). The joint is surrounded by a joint-capsule, which is strengthened by numerous ligaments. The shoulder muscles surrounding the joint-capsule further strengthen the joint.

  1. Capsula articularis
  2. Capsula articularis
  3. Labrum glenoidale
  4. Capsula articularis
  5. M. biceps brachii 
    (caput longum)
  6. Acromion
  7. Processus coracoideus
  8. Ligamentum coracohumerale


Cause: In case of violent strain the head of the humerus (caput) may be displaced, causing a strain of the joint-capsule and the ligaments.

Symptoms: Pain corresponding to the front of the shoulder. Normal passive mobility, but often restricted active mobility.

Acute treatment: Click here.

Examination: Light cases require no immediate treatment, but in case of powerful pain and movement constriction, or in lack of progress, a medical examination should be performed for a precise diagnosis. It may be necessary to supplement with further examinations (X-ray, MRI (article), or ultrasound). In some cases the injury is combined with a meniscus lesion in the shoulder (laesio labrum glenoidale).

Treatment: Most cases heal in a few weeks with relief and carefully increasing load within the pain threshold. Rehabilitation is aimed at strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint (article).

Complications: If satisfactory progress is not made, a physician should be consulted to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and that no complications have arisen. Amongst others the following should be considered: