The deltoid muscle forms the shoulder in humans and is made up of three heads: the anterior, the lateral and the posterior. The deltoids are responsible for lifting the arm forward, backward and straight out to the sides. A deltoid rupture involves a partial or complete tearing of the muscle. Rehabilitation includes isometric and weight-training exercises. Do not begin rehabilitation exercises without the supervision of a physical therapist or other health-care practitioner.
Rehabilitation for torn deltoids depends upon the severity of the injury. The RICE protocol can be used with all three levels of tears. Your health-care practitioner or physical therapist might apply ice or heat treatment, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy or electrical stimulation. A rehabilitation exercise program will be prescribed, and surgery might be necessary. Do not undertake any strength training until the shoulder is pain free.
Initially, isometric exercises help increase range of motion and prepare for a strength-training program. Stand with your affected side 12 to 15 inches away from the wall. With your arm straight down between your side and the wall, place the back of your hand against the wall. Push against the wall without bending your arm. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. Do a total of three repetitions. Do this exercise every day.
Front and Lateral Raise
Shoulder raise exercises work the different heads of the shoulder. Start with a lightweight dumbbell and increase weight as your ability increases. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand in an overhand grip and start with your arms hanging down to your sides. Slowly lift the weights straight out in front of you, until your hands are just at shoulder height. Pause, then slowly lower. This is a front raise. Next, use the same starting position and raise the weights to your sides, keeping your elbows straight but not locked. Raise the weights until your hands are at shoulder height. Pause, and then slowly lower to the starting position. This is a lateral raise. Alternate between front raises and lateral raises for this exercise to work different heads of the deltoids. Do three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
Shoulder press exercises work the anterior deltoid primarily, but also work the other heads of the shoulder. Start out with a light weight and slowly increase as your strength improves. Sit on a weight bench and grasp a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Hold the weights at shoulder height. The weights should be parallel to the floor and your elbows should be at 90 degrees to your body. Slowly press the weights up toward the ceiling until the elbows are straight but not locked. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
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