Treatment For Shoulder Contusions in NYC

Shoulder contusions can be uncomfortable injuries that cause difficulties with moving your arm to a full range of motion and strength. What exactly are shoulder contusions? The esteemed Shoulder specialist in NYC at Dines Orthopedics, Joshua S. Dines, MD, provides us with all the necessary information on shoulder sprains and strains. Here is what a shoulder contusion is, what causes it, the most common symptoms, treatment options, expected recovery times, and insight into when it might be significant to visit a Shoulder specialist in NYC:

What is a shoulder contusion?

A shoulder contusion is pain and swelling in the shoulder joint, resulting from a sudden or acute injury that ruptures the small blood vessels, capillaries, and under the skin. Blood gathers in the tissue underneath the skin, causing the skin above it to become discolored, appearing black and blue, and turning purple, red, yellow, and green as it heals. A contusion or bruising to the shoulder muscles may result in the muscle stretching yet not tearing. This stretching can make proper arm movement difficult and painful. While bothersome, this injury usually resolves rather quickly and on its own.

Common Symptoms:Shoulder specialist in NYC

  • Shoulder pain.
  • Bruising.
  • Swelling.
  • Difficulty moving arm.  

When should I see a Shoulder specialist in NYC?

While it is true, most of the time, medical treatment isn’t required for this injury; it is crucial to have the injury examined by a professional. Shoulder contusions are commonly just a symptom of a more serious injury, something a doctor should review and hopefully rule out in your case. If your symptoms appear to be worsening, after a couple of days, with bruising not dissipating and arm movement getting more difficult, a more serious injury may be the culprit. Your doctor can further examine your shoulder with an x-ray or MRI to better assess the damage sustained to the shoulder.   


Shoulder muscle contusions are usually the product of a direct hit or fall on the shoulder. Any trauma inflicted with enough force upon the shoulder muscle has the potential to cause a contusion. Contusions in your shoulder are commonplace in sports participants, especially in contact sports, but not necessarily only in contact sports. For example, contusions are common in basketball players with actions like driving an opponent and repeated collisions to the muscle. Shoulder blade injuries are also commonplace in golfers, where golf swings with enough force can stretch the shoulder muscle and create a contusion.

Shoulder Contusions Recovery Time and Treatment

Shoulder contusions are treated non-invasively. The top treatment option is designated rest, avoiding heavy lifting and any activities that might result in trauma to the shoulder. Icing the shoulder every couple of hours for 20 minutes can have massively beneficial effects and reduce recovery time. A sustained and well-executed icing regimen can reduce swelling and curb the leaking of blood that causes bruising, effectively dwindling bruise size. You can consider using the “RICE” method. This is used to help reduce pain or swelling in your shoulder. It is important to note one should be icing their injury 20 minutes at a time.

  • R – Rest
  • I – Ice
  • C – Compression
  • E – Elevation 

After experiencing a shoulder contusion, most people can get back to their everyday activities after only a few days of these treatment options depending on the severity of the injury. More severe shoulder strains can take a few weeks to heal, so it is always recommended to get examined by a medical professional to determine severity and treatment. Additional treatment for more severe contusions can include using over-the-counter pain medications or guided stretching exercises with physical therapy or a doctor. Once you can fully move your arm without any discomfort, feel free to return to your normal daily activities! 

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    Both shoulders fixed by David Dines/Right arm reconstructed by Josh. Body by Dines. Sailboat racing is a tough sport! This incredible team is as good as it gets. These 2 surgeons are what makes HSS so special. They are both rockstars. I am so grateful. They changed my life! Go Dines go!
    Christopher M.
    I am over the top pleased with Dr. Dines and his incredible staff! My shoulder replacement was nothing like expected… I had slight pain for two days and my incision looks amazing! I will be able to wear my cocktail dresses and not be worried about my scar!! Thank you Dr. Dines for giving Me a better quality of life!
    Lara P.
    Dr Dines just did surgery on my shoulder. Absolutely loved my experience with him and his team from A to Z. Would happily break something else and go back there. Try it!
    Dr. Joshua Dines is very professional, an amazing surgeon, answered all my questions pre and post op. He performed my left shoulder decompression on 6/1/21 and I got my range of motion and strength back within 2 months. Incredible results! I will highly recommend him to all my family and friends. The entire team was very organized and professional. All thumbs up.
    Alla Levit