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What is a Shoulder Horn?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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A shoulder horn is foam-covered bar that is bent so that it sits comfortable behind the neck and wraps around the front of the shoulders, with each end terminating just under the armpits. It's specifically designed to be used in conjunction with shoulder exercises and is meant to be a physical aid for rehabilitation or physical therapy patients who are suffering from shoulder-related problems. Patients who suffer from pain due to an incorrect balance of muscles within the shoulder often need assistance during exercise to isolate related muscle groups. The device is worn around the shoulders to provide that assistance.

When someone is exercising the general area of the shoulder rotator, he or she needs to position the arms correctly. The shoulder horn was created to help maintain the recommended arm position while the exercises are being performed. It helps the individual keep from locking certain joints, preventing potential damage or injury to the area. It also was developed by physical therapy and exercise experts as a shoulder-strengthening tool.

Physical therapists often see injuries or natural disease related to the shoulders. The gleno-humeral (GH) joint can become strained and deterioration can result. This condition typically involves the rotator cuff, four muscles that help stabilize the shoulder, and can often cause extreme pain and immobility to the joint. Prescribed therapy in the way of isometric-type exercises or other physical activity that targets the affected area is typically recommended. The shoulder horn is a useful tool in shoulder rehabilitation, as it typically contours to fit the curves of the shoulders.

This contraption is made from steel, with a foam padding for the patient's comfort. It can weigh a substantial amount, but it is designed to not impact the shoulder. Some individuals construct their own device from materials found around the home, such as a flexible band or belt. Shoulder horns, however, have a specific purpose and design.

The shoulder horn is available in various sizes to meet individual needs, typically depending on a person's weight and height. As a general rule, the device is available in a small, medium and large size, although an extra large size may also be available.

Any individual who plans on beginning a physical exercise program, whether intended for therapy purposes or for fitness, should consult with a medical professional first to confirm that he or she is healthy enough for the planned exercises. It can also set a beginning baseline to make it easier to track the person's development.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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