About Shoulder Sprains

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
Scroll down to learn more

What is a Shoulder Sprain?

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that consists of several interconnected parts. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint connects the upper part of the shoulder blade to the collarbone or clavicle. The glenohumeral joint connects the shoulder socket, or glenoid, which extends from the shoulder blade to the arm bone, or humerus. The shoulders flexibility can make it prone to injury. This often happens when stress is placed on the tissues that stabilize the shoulder. There are many types of shoulder sprains:

Grade 1: the ligaments of the AC joint stretch or partial tear, but the bones don’t separate. Mild pain and swelling may interfere with normal daily activities.
Grade 2: ligaments tear, causing pain and swelling.
Grade 3: In a Grade 3 sprain, the AC joint becomes completely separated. This leads to bruising, pain, and swelling that can prevent you from performing your usual activities. The dislocated collarbone usually appears as a bump on the shoulder.
Grades 4, 5, and 6: sprains are more severe and less common. In these injuries, ligaments tear, the AC joint separates, and muscles detach from the collarbone.

Common Causes:

  • Sport injury
  • Fall
  • Trauma
  • Motor vehicle accident

Symptoms of shoulder sprain may include:

  • Pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint stiffness
  • The sensation of a tear or pop followed by swelling and bruising

When you arrive for your initial consultation, one of our team of shoulder specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing a shoulder sprain, The OPA Shoulder Specialist:

  • A medical, injury, and symptom history review
  • A physical examination
  • Multiple view x-rays

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease symptoms as quickly as possible.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options may be used to treat shoulder sprains that do not involve serious bone displacement or tendon tearing. A combination of the following is prescribed:

Rest, Ice & Medications

To decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain.

Physical Therapy

One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.


Use of a sling or brace gives bones and tendons time to heal.

Surgical intervention may be recommended but rare in most cases for grades 4, 5, and 6 sprains.

At OPA, our Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Orthopedic Surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating a shoulder sprain.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and would like a treatment solution you should contact OPA to schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations in Anchorage and Eagle River.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Shoulder Team

(click a provider to view profile)

Owen Ala, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Deryk Anderson, DO

Orthopedic Specialist

Tucker Drury, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Adam Ellison, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Robert Hall, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Christopher Manion, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Jeff Moore, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Eli Powell, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Greg Schweiger, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.


Call Now ButtonCall Us Today