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How to treat shoulder injuries

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

St John has timely reminder first aid tips about what to do if you or someone is injured on the rugby field. Shoulder injuries such as shoulder separations and shoulder dislocations are a fairly common injury, especially in rugby. Separation is where the shoulder blade and the collar bone become separated and a dislocation occurs when the arm bone pops out of its usual place in the shoulder.

Signs and Symptoms (not all may be present)

Pain and tenderness on the outer area of the collar bone

Loss of the normal shape of the shoulder. The player will usually hunch the shoulder forward on the hurt side

The player will find movement of the shoulder painful

How you can help The first thing is to make sure that everyone is safe - i.e. make sure they are out of the way of other players and spectators

Ensure first aid providers are called if they are on site

Keep them warm

Support the injured area in the position that is most comfortable for them

Rest the injured area. Short term rest (a day or two) helps relieve pain. Gentle movement is then encouraged provided this is not associated with worsening pain

Ice will reduce pain. An ice pack can be applied for 10-30 minutes and repeated (with 20-30 minute gaps) if pain persists

Pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen is recommended for 1-2 days

They should see a doctor if there is severe pain or they cannot move their shoulder at all

They should see a doctor or physiotherapist if their symptoms are not improving within two days

Dial 111 and ask for an ambulance if the person is in very severe pain

For more first aid tips and to enrol in a first aid course go to

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