Shoulder Separation Treatment

Call 911 if:

  • The injury was caused by a severe blow.
  • The person's pulse is weak.

1. Get Medical Help

  • See a doctor or go to a hospital emergency room.

2. Immobilize Shoulder

  • Place person's forearm at right angle to chest.
  • Apply sling and tie it around neck.
  • To bind arm to body, wrap a towel around chest and arm and tie it under opposite arm.

3. Control Pain and Swelling

  • Apply ice for 20 minutes. Remove to rewarm skin and reapply.

4. Follow Up

  • See a doctor if joint pain or swelling continues after 2 or 3 days.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 26, 2020



American College of Emergency Physicians: "What to Do in an Emergency." "Shoulder Instability."

Subbarao, I. AMA Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care, Random House Reference, 2009.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: "Shoulder Separation."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Sports Injuries."

Shoulder Separation Information from eMedicineHealth.

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