Deltoid Muscle Strain

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What is a Deltoid Muscle Strain?

Image result for Deltoid Muscle StrainThe deltoid muscle is the large muscle on the shoulder and has three parts: the anterior, posterior and the middle. The muscle performs the role of lifting the arm up sideways. The front part helps to lift the arm up forward, which is called shoulder flexion. The back part helps to lift the arm up backward, which is called shoulder extension.

If the deltoid muscle is strained or injured, it can cause pain at the front, side or back of the shoulder. Salient, committed, and board certified orthopedic surgeons at Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute provide treatments for deltoid muscle strain to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and other neighborhoods and towns in The Sagebrush State.


One of the common symptoms of deltoid muscle strain is sudden pain in the muscle at the front of the shoulder. When the patient lifts the art from the side to the front keeping it straight against resistance, the pain is reproduced.

Where the muscle is torn, visible swelling and tenderness may develop. Bruising may occur in more severe injuries. Symptoms of a deltoid strain are similar to that of a rotator cuff injury, which is much more common. Therefore, both possibilities should be considered.


Grade 1 Deltoid Strain

Frequently apply ice therapy and compression wrap, 15 minutes at a time, for the first 24 hours. Perform light exercises as suggested by the orthopedic surgeon to gradually build up weight and strengthen the muscle. Professional sports massage or ultrasound therapy may be used to expedite recovery.

Grade 2 Deltoid Strain

Apply ice for three to five days. Thereafter, apply heat through hot water bottle, hot baths or ultrasound therapy. A sports injury specialist can help create a proper rehabilitation plan. After the first week, the patient will be required to perform light pain free exercises.

Cycling and stretching exercises may also be advised. A sports therapist may perform sports massage techniques to speed up recovery. After two weeks, the patient can gradually return to sports activities.

Grade 3 Deltoid Strain

The patient should seek immediate medical attention and apply PRICE therapy. From the second week, the patient can perform pain free static contractions. Heat can be applied through hot water bottle, hot bath or ultrasound. The third week can include all these activities and additionally an increase in the static contraction intensity.

From the fourth week, the patient can perform light lateral raises and rotator cuff exercises, cycling and stretching exercises as advised by the surgeon. Week five will include build up exercises. Thereafter, the patient can gradually move to sports specific exercises. Recovery can be faster if the orthopedic surgeon or sports therapist makes use of sports massage as well as ultrasound or electrical stimulation.

Surgery may be required in a few cases, if the conservative treatments fail to achieve proper healing of the deltoid muscle. If the patient suspects grade two or three injury, they should promptly seek medical attention. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas for deltoid strain treatment.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9393.

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Las Vegas, NV 89117