Deltoid Strain: Classification, Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment

Deltoid Strain: Shoulder pain is quite a common among people involved in sports. A painful shoulder can hamper an athlete’s performance at the competitive level and can be pretty debilitating for the individual. There are many causes for shoulder pain and one such cause is a Deltoid Strain.

Deltoid Strain

What Is Deltoid Strain?

The Deltoid Muscle is a muscle which covers the shoulder joint. The deltoid itself is divided into three parts which are the anterior or the front part, the middle part, and the posterior or the back part. The deltoid stems from the lateral part of the acromion and clavicle and goes into the lateral aspect of humerus. The main function of the deltoid muscle is to facilitate abduction of the arm or in other words moving the arms to the side of the body and moving the arms in front of the body in other words forward elevation. The Deltoid Muscle is an extremely powerful muscle and is required for various sporting activities. Due to certain activities or overuse, sometimes the Deltoid Muscle gets injured resulting in a condition called as Deltoid Strain.

Classification Of Deltoid Strain

Deltoid Strains are mainly categorized into 3 grades that is, Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III strains. This categorization is done based on the severity of the injury to the muscle.

Grade I Deltoid Strain: This type of strain usually causes mild pain in the shoulders. Individuals with Grade-I strains are generally able to use their shoulder for activities without much difficulty or pain.

Grade II Deltoid Strain: These types of strains are usually as a result of a major injury to the Deltoid Muscle. In these sprains, there may be partial rupture of the Deltoid Muscle. Individuals with Grade II Deltoid Strains will have increased shoulder pain. They will also have difficulties using their shoulder for daily activities and they may also experience swelling of the affected shoulder.

Grade III Deltoid Strain: This is the most severe form of Deltoid Strain. In such strains, there is virtually complete rupture of the Deltoid Muscle. Individuals with Grade III Deltoid Strains experience very severe pain and are not able to use the affected shoulder for any activities.

Causes of Deltoid Strain

There can be various reasons due to which there may be a strain to the Deltoid Muscle. The most common cause of a Deltoid Strain is overuse of the Deltoid Muscle which can result in persistent discomfort along with swelling and reduced function of the shoulder. A Deltoid Strain can also be caused by eccentric contraction of shoulder generally seen in weightlifting. There have been rare cases of a Deltoid Strain being caused due to a direct trauma to the muscle.

Symptoms Of Deltoid Strain

  • Shoulder pain
  • Reduced range of motion of the shoulder
  • Presence of visible swelling on the affected shoulder

Diagnosis of Deltoid Strain

The diagnosis of a Deltoid Strain is made by the physician after understanding as to the cause of the injury along with the symptoms that the presenting individual is experiencing. A detailed physical examination of the shoulder will then be conducted looking for range of motion, strength, and swelling of the shoulder. Individuals with Deltoid Strains will complain of excruciating pain in the affected shoulder on palpation. In case of a muscle rupture, there may also be presence of a palpable defect. Radiographs are only ordered in case there is suspicion of a fracture or dislocation. MRI may be required for suspicion of a severe rotator cuff injury or a labrum tear.

 Treatment For Deltoid Strain

Treatment For Deltoid Strain

Conservative treatment is the treatment of choice for Grade I and II deltoid Strain. Conservative treatment is done using the RICE protocol which means adequate rest, application of ice to the injured area, compression, and elevation of the affected area.

Apart from this, NSAIDs in the form of ibuprofen may also be given for control of pain and swelling.

A small course of physical therapy will also be beneficial for improvement is strength and range of motion of the affected shoulder. For Grade III Strains, physical therapy and restriction of activities is the preferred norm.

When Can An Athlete Get Back To Sporting Activities After A Deltoid Strain?

An avid sportsman suffering from Deltoid Strain can return back to sporting activities with a couple of days depending on the severity of the strain. In case of severe sprains, it will usually take a few weeks before returning to full sporting activity.

Also Read:

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 29, 2022

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