What is a deltoid contusion?

What is a deltoid contusion?, Knee and Shoulder InstituteThe deltoid muscle is a significant muscle on the shoulder, and it has three parts: the anterior, posterior and the middle. This muscle enables the arm to lift sideways.

The front portion facilitates in lifting the arm up forward which is known as shoulder flexion. The back portion allows the arm to lift up backward which is known as shoulder extension. In case the deltoid muscle suffers an injury or strain, it may lead to pain at the side, back or front of the shoulder.

A deltoid contusion refers to a bruise in the deltoid muscle which is located on the shoulder’s side. This condition results from a direct muscle impact, typically from a blunt object or someone’s elbow.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide deltoid contusion treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and other towns and suburbs in this region of the southwest.


The symptoms of a deltoid contusion may include:

  • Severe pain in the muscle after impact
  • Pain and discomfort when raising the arm to the side
  • Tenderness in the muscle
  • Bruising
  • Possible inflammation


Grade 1 Deltoid Strain

The patient should apply ice therapy and compression wrap frequently for 15 minutes in one sitting, for the initial 24 hours post-injury. They should undertake light exercises as advised by the orthopedic surgeon to slowly regain weight and strength in the muscle. Ultrasound therapy or professional sports massage may help speed up the recovery.

Grade 2 Deltoid Strain

The patient should apply ice for 3 to 5 days. After that, they should apply heat using hot baths, hot water bottle or ultrasound therapy. The patient can consult a sports injury specialist for a comprehensive rehabilitation plan. After the initial week, the patient will need to undertake light, pain-free exercises.

The patient may also be advised to undertake cycling and stretching exercises. The patient may also consider receiving a sports massage from a sports therapist to expedite the recovery. They may slowly resume sports activities after a period of 2 weeks.

Grade 3 Deltoid Strain

In this case, the patient should immediately seek medical assistance and apply PRICE therapy. The patient can perform painless static contraction from the 2nd week. They can apply heat using a hot bath, hot water bottle, or ultrasound. The 3rd week can involve all these activities as well as an increase in the intensity of the static contraction.

Starting from the 4th week, the patient can undertake rotator cuff exercises and light lateral raises, stretching exercises and cycling are instructed by the surgeon.

The fifth week will involve building up exercises. After that, the patient may slowly start sports specific exercises. The patient will experience a speedier recovery if the surgeon or sports therapist uses sports massage, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.

In case traditional treatments are unable to provide adequate healing of the deltoid muscle, then the patient may require surgery. The patient should seek immediate medical attention if they suspect a grade 2 or 3 injury. Also check for neural symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand or arm which may be an indication of nerve damage.

Thomas & Bigler Knee and Shoulder Institute, led by board-certified orthopedic surgeons, provides deltoid contusion fracture treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and other cities and neighborhoods in this area of the country.

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)

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