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The outlook depends on the type of sprain and its grade:

  • Acromioclavicular joint sprain — The long-term prognosis for Grade I and Grade II injuries is good. However, 30% to 40% of people with this type of joint sprain notice some minor lingering symptoms, such as a clicking sensation in the shoulder or pain during push ups or other exercises that strain the shoulder. In studies of athletes who had Grade III sprains, both surgical and nonsurgical treatments gave good results, with about 90% regaining full range of motion without pain.

  • Sternoclavicular joint sprain — After proper treatment, about 70%to 80% of people with Grade I or Grade II sprains are pain free and able to participate in normal athletic activities. The remaining 20% to 30% of people have occasional pain in the affected shoulder, as well as some limitations in how they perform athletically. People with Grade III sprains usually have a good long-term prognosis, with normal range of motion at the shoulder and little pain or disability. In some cases, however, the person has mild discomfort in the shoulder during activities that require heavy exertion of the arm.

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