How Long Does It Take for a Shoulder Sprain to Heal?
- Posted on: Dec 15 2023
Shoulder sprains are one of the most common orthopedic injuries, and luckily, many heal by themselves with rest, ice, and temporary lifestyle modifications. In general, patients do not need to undergo any invasive treatment to have their shoulder sprain heal. However, in some severe cases, you may need shoulder surgery to repair the AC joint and ligaments.
Mild Shoulder Sprain Recovery Time
The average time it takes for a mild shoulder sprain to heal is 7 to 14 days. This is a grade 1 shoulder sprain that causes tenderness and discomfort, and it may interfere with some activities, such as getting dressed and lifting the affected arm.
However, although the ligaments are stretched or partially torn, the bones have not separated. Mild shoulder sprains can be treated at home using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), rest, ice for the first 2-3 days, and heat afterward to improve comfort levels.
Mild to Severe Shoulder Sprain Recovery Time
A moderate sprain (grade 2) causes more pain and has more significant swelling than a mild sprain; in this case, the ligaments are fully torn and require medical treatment.
Physical therapy may be helpful, and the doctor may suggest wearing a sling to stabilize the affected arm.
In the most severe cases, healing can take 2-6 months. In grade 3, patients tend to require surgery to repair the AC joint. In some cases, an arthroscopic procedure can be performed, but some patients require a traditional open procedure to make a complete repair.
What to Expect From Surgery
AC joint surgery involves realigning your collarbone and shoulder blade; it can also include trimming the clavicle bone so it does not irritate the top of the shoulder (acromion).
Most shoulder sprain surgery can be performed outpatient, meaning you get to go home the same day. Recovery typically involves physical therapy to help restore complete functionality and range of motion to the affected joint.
At Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, we help patients find relief and heal as quickly as possible. Our surgeons in Santa Rosa and Petaluma, CA, are committed to ensuring your health and happiness. If you are suffering from a shoulder sprain, please submit an online form or call 707-544-3400.
Posted in: Shoulder Treatments