Tears of the deltoid muscle, though infrequent, do occur in team handball and volleyball players, American footballers, weightlifters, wrestlers, and other athletes.
The muscle is damaged in most cases by direct impact, but it can also be injured by overuse. The tear affects only a small part of the muscle, making it difficult to raise the arm upwards and in abduction. Local tenderness is felt over the region of the tear.
The treatment is rest.
Overuse injuries can affect the deltoid attachment to the humerus, particularly in young athletes who repeatedly elevate and abduct the arm under a heavy load.
Overuse of the posterior part of the deltoid muscle occurs, for example, in butterfly-stroke swimmers because of their vigorous backward arm movements. Overuse of the anterior part of the muscle is not uncommon in certain contact sports when players use their outstretched arms to push or tackle.
The treatment for these overuse injuries is, as a rule, rest and heat.
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