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How Does a Torn Ligament in the Shoulder Feel Like?

The shoulder is perhaps one of the most complex structures of the entire body. The shoulder is designed such that it helps us use our hands in any way we like. It helps us to play different kinds of sports and carry out various rigorous activities, which may allow lifting of heavy objects. Due to the complex job that the shoulder does it makes it vulnerable to various injuries. A torn ligament is one such injury that an individual tends to have. A ligament is a collagenous structure which connects bone to bone. The tear in the ligament makes the shoulder unstable and it becomes difficult to carry out activities of daily living or recreational activities.

A ligament in the shoulder can rupture due to various reasons. It may result from a fall on the shoulder while playing contact sports like football or rugby. It may also result from overuse of the shoulder like while playing sports like tennis, squash, and badminton which put heavy workload on the shoulder. Construction workers who tend to lift heavy objects at work are also vulnerable to have a torn ligament in the shoulder.

The scapula, humerus, and the clavicle are the three bones that form the shoulder joint. As the shoulder joint is one of the busiest joints in our body the ligaments of this joint is subjected to constant wear and tear making it vulnerable to degeneration. This results in pain and dysfunction of the shoulder joint. This article gives a brief overview of how does a torn ligament in the shoulder feel like.

How Does a Torn Ligament in the Shoulder Feel Like?

How Does A Torn Ligament In The Shoulder Feel Like?

The primary presenting feature of a torn ligament will be extreme pain and a feeling of weakness in the affected shoulder. There may be two scenarios for a torn shoulder ligament. Either it may be torn partially or it will be torn completely.

In cases where a ligament of the shoulder is partially torn then there will be pain and weakness, but the individual will be able to move the shoulder normally albeit with pain. In cases of complete tear of the shoulder ligament then the individual will not be able to carry out a full range of motion with the shoulder.

It will also be virtually impossible for the individual to move the shoulder sideways or up overhead. There may also be a catching sensation of the shoulder with any attempts at movement of the shoulder.

Sleep will also be affected where it will be very difficult for the individual to sleep on the affected side as a result of pain due to a torn ligament in the shoulder. In some cases, there may be visible discoloration of the skin along with swelling as a result of a torn ligament in the shoulder.


  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Shoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems. OrthoInfo https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-pain-and-common-shoulder-problems/
  2. OrthoInfo. (2021). Rotator Cuff Tears. OrthoInfo https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/rotator-cuff-tears/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2023

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