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Shoulder Injury From Hard Fall


First of all, I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow to get professional advice on what to do, in the meantime...

I was playing soccer yesterday and took a hard fall, now I can barely move my right arm. When I fell my arm was raised above my head and I landed on my right side. At the time my shoulder hurt but it wasn't my main concern because my left hand was bleeding. I then drove home and took a shower using my right arm to drive and wash myself. The only thing I couldn't do with my right arm was lift my soccer bag, 10 pounds, out of the passengers seat.

As of this morning I can't lift my arm to the front or to the side more then about 15 degrees. I can bend my arm at the elbow and rotate my arm toward and away from my body as if I was doing exercises for the rotator cuff. If I use my other arm to lift my right arm above my head it's a little painfull but I can lower my arm to 90 degrees and then raise it back up and it feel strong. I can do this both forward and to the side but I am a little weaker to the side.

Has anyone had similar problems? Everything I've found online is people that had problems raising their arm above 90 degrees and not below 90 degrees. I'm thinking my injury is different because my arm was raised when it was injured. Thanks.


That's a textbook description of a meniscus or rotator cuff tear. More often than not, the injury occurs because we instinctively reach out to catch ourselves, creating a lever (the arm) that forces the joint into compromising positions.

Sorry to say it, but it doesn't sound likely that you'll avoid the knife. Ice it as frequently as you can stand to until you can see the orthopod.


I actually got an answer from someone at allexperts.com and he said because I can move my arm with my left arm that it sounds like a muscular injury and no rotator cuff tear is probable. I still have to wait another few days till things stop hurting as much and then see an orthropod.

Hi Jonathan,

It is too early to speculate on a definitive diagnosis, however, your description tells me it is muscle damage and not a ligamentous tear. Passive range of motion (ROM) can be accomplished using the left arm to assist, no mechanical lock, labral tear or rotator cuff tear is probable.

Ice it down as much as possible and wait until the dust settles, 5 days, then pursue advanced imaging to rule out a tear. Immediately following most trauma type injuries, everything hurts which makes it difficult to nail down a specific diagnosis. The best thing you can do is let the inflammation subside and wait until the pain localizes and maximum ROM is documented, then you can peruse treatment options specific for your problem.

If you need further advice after things settle, let me know and I will be happy to assist you.

Take Care,

Dr. Timothy Durnin


between my two shoulders I have had 15 full dislocations and 10 sublexations over a period of 4 years, so I consider myself an authority based on all the things iv tried and gone through. Enough with me though, the best advice was already given, Ice in 10 min intervals as long as you can possibly stand it. My question to you is what kind of pain is it when you move it, does it feel jamed and sharp or does it feel like extreme muscle sorness/tear. Its hard to tell because when you rip the small rotator cuff muscles, its a sharp muscle sorness...I hope thats your deep because if it feels jammed, them its probable that its a ligament issue, i dought that though because you didnt state that you dislocated of sublexed. If you have problems in the future at all the key is all diffrent types and angles of shrugs (light in the beginning of coarse).

I have had surgery only one of my shoulders and had months of physical therapy that got it back into relativly good shape. For the last 2-3 months now ive been powerlifting though and doing all kind of rows and shrugs and my shouders are better than they have ever been before.
Good luck bud