Ligament stretching of the shoulder


The ligamentous apparatus that secures the shoulder joint is exposed to high demands in order to guarantee the great mobility of this joint.

The shoulder is that most flexible joint in the human body. It can be moved in all directions and also perform combination movements. This high degree of mobility is made possible by the fact that the humeral head very large in relation to the socket and protrudes beyond its edges. This relationship can quickly lead to the humerus head in the shoulder joint slips out of the joint socket (dislocation, Dislocation), or that with fast, jerky movements the head slips too far in one direction.

To prevent this from happening, the shoulder joint is surrounded by many muscles and ligaments that provide stability. With extreme movements they become tense and block further movement in that direction. If, however, a movement is carried out with so much momentum that the ligaments cannot withstand this pull, the ligament will stretch or, in the more extreme case, a ligament rupture. Ligament stretching is therefore also referred to as a ligament injury of the first degree.

Please also read our page Ligament Stretching - An Overview


Ligament stretching can occur in both Sports as well as with everyday actions. A ligament stretch in the shoulder is caused by a movement that goes beyond the natural range of motion. Often this is at unplanned uncontrolled movements the case, for example, as they are often performed in sports. But also a Support in the event of a fall with unfavorable forces acting on the shoulder joint can lead to overstretching of the ligaments. Often the arm is turned unnaturally and the shoulder joint is put under incorrect strain. A blow or kick in the shoulder can also stretch the ligaments.

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The shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body.

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A ligament stretch in the shoulder is first noticeable as pain in the joint. Then there is one Swelling of the shoulder. The pain that occurs is particularly severe when moving or exercising of the joint. Therefore, there is a reduced development of strength and a loss of function of the shoulder or arm.

Compared to a torn ligament, both the pain and the swelling of the joint are less pronounced. Bruises (hematomas) are usually absent when ligaments are stretched. This is due to the fact that when the ligaments are stretched, there is no damage to the ligaments or the surrounding tissue and thus there is no bleeding.

Diagnosis of a ligament stretch of the shoulder

If acute pain occur in the shoulder area, a doctor should be consulted. Kick this pain after a jerky movement and may be with a Swelling of the joint connected, these are the first indications of damage to the ligamentous apparatus. Nevertheless, especially after falls, there is one Damage to the Exclude bones. The doctor then differentiates Scan and Function testswhether there is a stretched or torn ligament. Since functional tests often do not provide clear results, there is still one in doubt Magnetic resonance imaging of the shoulder (MRI of the shoulder) necessary to see from the pictures whether the tape is torn or not.


The most important thing in an acute ligament stretch is Protection of the joint. It should no large-scale movements be carried out and no heavy loads be lifted. If ligaments have stretched during training, this should be stopped immediately. The shoulder joint should be cooled by compressing with cold water or ice. Care must be taken that the ice does not lie directly on the skin, as this can cause frostbite. The cooling counteracts excessive swelling of the joint.

In the acute phase, depending on the pain, it may also be necessary to take pain reliever medication.However, the severe pain should subside after a few days and the medication should no longer be needed.

Depending on the extent of the stretch, the doctor will decide whether it is necessary for the patient to wear a splint. In the case of a ligament stretching of the shoulder, a loop is used in which the forearm can be placed and carried. The shoulder, especially the ligaments, are relieved and the healing process is supported.


Symptoms may recur if the shoulder joint is not spared enough after ligament stretching. This can lead to joint instability in the long term. If these complaints persist for a long time, it can promote the development of osteoarthritis.

You may also be interested in this topic: Torn ligament of the shoulder


Ligament stretching cannot be prevented, even if many precautions are taken, especially when exercising. Long warm up and stretching it does reduce the risk ligament stretching, but this is often the result of sudden, extreme movement that was not foreseen. This overload cannot prevent even long stretching.

It is important to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint. This means that the muscles support and relieve the ligaments in their holding function. This can reduce the risk of injury from ligament stretching, as the muscles can dampen the violent movements and reduce the tension on the ligaments.


A ligament stretch usually takes time to heal with sufficient rest for about one to two weeks. During this time should the shoulder chilled regularly and high loads, such as heavy carrying, be avoided. Sports activities should also be avoided.

If long and heavy loads and training are foregone for a while, even after the swelling has subsided and there is no pain, then she has Ligament stretching of the shoulder a good prognosis and heals without any further discomfort. The phase until the full load can be started again is about four to six weeks. However, the load should be increased slowly, otherwise the symptoms can recur and are often worse than when they first appeared.