Shoulder injuries: Torn shoulder ligament

A torn shoulder ligament occurs due to instability involving the ligaments that secure the joint in place which oftentimes result to dislocation. Once an individual ends up with a torn shoulder ligament, it is at risk for recurrent episodes in the future. The shoulder joint is highly mobile than the other joints in the body in which it turns in various directions and allows overhead raising of the hands, crossing of arms in front of the body and arm rotation. On the other hand, this mobility increases the risk for instability of the joint.

Initial first aid care for a torn shoulder ligament

Encourage the individual with a torn shoulder ligament to get enough rest. This will help the damaged ligaments in the shoulder to steadily heal. The doctor usually recommends the placement of a sling to reduce any unwanted movement of the shoulder that can increase the discomfort and pain. Application of ice and compression while at rest will also help minimize the swelling and inflammation.


At the present, there are no available medications that can be used to manage a torn ligament but there are variants of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can alleviate the pain and symptoms linked to instability of the joint.

It is recommended that the individual is well aware of the potential risks of medications. The doctor will determine any potential interactions with other drugs and recommended dosage before prescribing the right medication.

Physical therapy

Torn shoulder

Encourage the individual with a torn shoulder ligament to get enough rest.

Once the shoulder became unstable in which a dislocation or torn shoulder ligament occurs, it rarely returns to its previous level of stability. The ligaments do not return to their previous strength. This is why the guaranteed form of treatment for a torn shoulder ligament involves physical therapy, strengthening of the rotator cuff and rehabilitation.

In case the tendons of the rotator cuff are strong, they are capable of successfully keeping it within the socket without depending on the ligament stability. The physical therapist will utilize application of ice or heat and ultrasound to minimize the inflammation before starting exercises that increases the strength of the rotator cuff.

A torn ligament linked with instability will not regain normal stability with only rehabilitation. The doctor might recommend a 4-6 week period of strengthening if the instability persists and then surgery is required to tighten the ligaments in the shoulder as well as mend any damage on the cartilage.

What is arthroscopy?

Individuals who suffer from persistent shoulder instability can greatly benefit from arthroscopic surgery in order to repair the torn shoulder ligament and restore stability.

This procedure is required when other treatment measures are not effective in reducing the symptoms and restoring comfort. During surgery, the doctor will assess the tear visually with the help of a small-sized camera and attempt to repair any injuries.