deltoid strain

Ways of treating deltoid strain

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A deltoid strain is pain at the front, side or back of the shoulder. The deltoid muscle covers the joint of the shoulder. It is divided into three parts which are the anterior, the middle part and the back part. The deltoid muscles facilitate the abduction of the arm such as moving the arms to the side of the body and elevating the arms in front of the body. It is a powerful muscle and needed for various sports activities. Due to certain activities this muscle can become overused and injured and result to straining the deltoid.


  • Grade 1 deltoid strain – mild pain in the shoulders, and capable of using the shoulder for activities without difficulty or pain.
  • As for a grade 2 deltoid strain – partial rupture of the muscle, severe shoulder pain, limited movement of the shoulder and swelling of the affected area.
  • Grade 3 – severe form of strain, complete rupture of the muscle, severe and incapable of using the shoulders for various activities.
    Overuse of the muscle which cause persistent pain and swelling and limited function of the shoulder.

Causes of deltoid strain

  • Overuse of the muscle which cause persistent pain and swelling and limited function of the shoulder.
  • Unusual contraction due to weightlifting
  • Direct trauma to the muscle
  • Swimming and skiing
  • Using heavy tools with hands
  • Repetitive throwing
  • Repetitive tying and not practicing proper ergonomics


  • Swelling of the affected shoulder
  • Limited range of movement
  • Pain while lifting the arm and spreads from the tip of the shoulder to the upper arm.
  • Pain is reduced when resting the arm
  • Severe pain when pulling or pushing objects
  • Weakness of the shoulder


  • Take plenty of rest for fast healing of the condition
  • Apply ice on the affected area for at least 15 minutes to lessen the swelling and the pain for 2-3 days. Avoid ice directly on the skin. Cover the pack with a towel or a piece of cloth before applying on the area to prevent further irritation of the condition.
  • After 24 hours, apply heat on the area in form of a heating pad or hot compress to lessen the stiffness and spasms of muscles. Avoid applying heat directly on the affected area. Wrap whatever heat therapy is used using a towel before placing to the area to prevent burning the skin and worsen the condition.
  • Start performing stretching and strengthening exercises with the help of the physical therapist to restore range of movement and prevent future strains.
  • A sports massage with the help of a professional to keep muscle loose, supple and make the tissue warm. The affected area can be massage after first 2 days of resting and icing.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and Tylenol to lessen the inflammation and the pain

More Information

The details posted on this page on a deltoid strain is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this type of strain, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.


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