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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Anterior Deltoid Stretch

Stretching the front of the shoulder in this very commonly injured area

 

The shoulder is actually a very complicated joint. While it is technically a "ball and socket" type joint, the "ball" doesn’t lock in to the "socket," as it does in the hip, for example. Rather, the muscles of the shoulder serve to hold the joint in place. This makes shoulders very mobile, but particularly susceptible to injury.

A number of clients come in to my office with pain in the "front of the arm", which is really the top of the shoulder joint, specifically, the anterior deltoid. This muscle is actually really easy to irritate; with sports, sure, but I've also seen a lot of clients come in with anterior deltoid pain from gardening, carrying heavy boxes, or even something seemingly innocuous, like picking up a heavy grocery bag.

Anatomy Lesson:

The deltoid is a large muscle that serves to wrap around the entire upper arm, holding it in to the shoulder joint. It’s often referred to as a large "cuff." Because it's so large, and the different sides of it perform different movements, the deltoid is broken in to three different sections, "anterior," "lateral," and "posterior." In this article, we'll discuss the anterior deltoid, that is, the front upper section of the arm.

The anterior deltoid attaches from the collarbone, near the pec, to the deltoid tuberosity of the arm, which can often be seen as a little dimple in the top third of the arm. It's responsible for lifting straight up in front of yourself with the palm facing backward (if the palm faces up, you're using your bicep). That action can also be described as pulling toward yourself with your palm down, like when pulling weeds from your garden (that's personally how I injured my anterior deltoid!).

The Stretch:

To stretch this muscle, we need to pull the clavicular attachment away from the deltoid tuberosity attachment. Since it lies so close to the pec, it's natural to feel like the standard pec stretch against a wall is the way to go. And it's very similar, but the palm is the key: When stretching the pec, the palm is pressed against the wall. To stretch the anterior deltoid, the palm is faced out:

Stand perpendicular to a wall and reach your arm behind you. You can keep the palm pressed against the wall at this point. Stand close enough to the wall to press as much of your arm against it as possible. Gently twist your body away from the wall, moving your torso more perpendicular to the wall, but keeping the arm contacted to it. Slowly and carefully spin your wrist so that your palm is facing out. Gently twist a little more perpendicular if you can, and you should feel a lovely stretch throughout the entire front of the arm.

 

 The poor anterior deltoid seems to get injured easily. And since we use it so frequently, when it hurts, we notice it. Give this stretch a try to loosen it up. But of course, if you're noticing pain and tension still, feel free to make a massage therapy appointment with me. I'll help you get back to pain-free in no time. I'll see you in my Westport office!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT