Shoulder injuries are very painful and they can affect the entire arm if the consultation of an orthopedic surgeon is delayed. Here is everything you need to know about shoulder separation, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Separated Shoulder

Your shoulder is a very complex juncture of a lot of bones. Your collarbone, shoulder blade, and upper humerus are connected in a bolus of joints, which gives your shoulder a round appearance from the outside. A shoulder separation occurs near the ligaments which join these three bones together, mainly where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. This can lead to a physical gap and deformation in your shoulder and it’s visible from the skin.

The degree of separation of the two bones depends on the type of injury the shoulder has gone through. If the ligaments are barely holding onto the bones, then the two bones will stretch apart and the gap will become bigger and bigger.

Causes Of A Separated Shoulder

Here are some common causes of shoulder separation:

  • Sports injuries can lead to a separated shoulder. There are a lot of high-intensity sports in which the shoulders and arms are engaged. If the arm or shoulder faces any kind of impact which is too much for the muscles, bones, or tendons to handle, it can lead to tearing in the ligaments, ultimately leading to a separated shoulder.
  • Car accidents can also cause separated shoulders.
  • Falling on your shoulder very hard can lead to a shoulder separation.
  • Overexerting your outstretched arm, like doing very heavy exercises, or constantly falling on your arm, will also, ultimately, lead to a shoulder separation.
  • If you are an avid player of baseball or any sport where there is throwing involved, then a sprain in the shoulder can graduate into a separated shoulder.

Symptoms Of Separated Shoulder

Here are some symptoms of a separated shoulder:

  • One of the most obvious ones is pain. After falling or taking a heavy impact, you will instantly feel a lot of pain in the shoulder. Even though most shoulder injuries have pain as the main symptom, shoulder separation, it’s different because you will distinctly hear a popping sound when you try to move your shoulder too much.
  • A popping sound is because of the gap present in the shoulder. Because your shoulder is separated and has a gap in it, it will accumulate air in it and it will lead to a popping sound when you move your shoulder and let the air out.
  • There will be a distinct gap in your shoulder and this can be seen through your skin. It is very obvious and it is deemed as a physical deformity in the shoulder.

Treatment For Separated Shoulder

The non-surgical treatments for a separated shoulder are:

  • Giving the shoulder time to rest.
  • Wearing a sling after popping the shoulder back in place.
  • Doing light physical therapy to keep the shoulder moving and avoiding frozen shoulder.
  • Taking pain medications, if the pain gets too much for you.

When To Get Should Surgery?

These treatments are great if you have a slight gap in your shoulder and it can be treated without any type of invasion or surgery. But sometimes, the injury might be too severe and it’s far gone from the point of healing without surgery. This can usually be found through an x-ray and the severity can be denoted.

The surgical method of fusing your shoulder gap involves making a small incision near the gap, where the doctor will go in and fuse the two separated bones together and fuse them with prosthetic ligaments. This shoulder surgery is less invasive and the healing time is within a couple of weeks. You will be able to resume important life activities after the recommended healing time. Another x-ray might be done, after the surgery, to see the progress of the healing shoulder.


A shoulder separation is very easy to identify since there is some sort of physical deformation in the appearance of the shoulder. So, if you notice something similar to the above-mentioned symptoms, you shouldn’t waste your time and see a shoulder specialist Woodbridge immediately. Moreover, follow the advice of the surgeon for treatment and quick recovery without facing any complications.