A separated shoulder is an injury to the ligaments that hold your collarbone to your shoulder blade. In a mild separated shoulder, the ligaments may just be stretched. In severe injuries, ligaments may be completely ruptured.
In most people, a separated shoulder doesn’t usually require surgery. Instead, conservative treatment — such as rest, ice and pain relievers — is often enough to relieve the pain. Most people regain full shoulder function within a few weeks after experiencing a separated shoulder.
The most common cause of a separated shoulder is a blow to the point of your shoulder or a fall directly on your shoulder. The injury may stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your collarbone to your shoulder blade.
Signs and symptoms of a separated shoulder may include:
- Shoulder pain
- Shoulder or arm weakness
- Shoulder bruising or swelling
- Limited shoulder movement
- A bump at the top of your shoulder
When to see a doctor
Contact your doctor if you experience persistent tenderness or pain near the end of your collarbone.