Holding Your Shoulder Means Injury

A common trope in Manga and Anime (but also in other media) where when a character is injured, no matter what kind of damage he/she has gotten, will hold one of his/her shoulder with the opposite hand.

They may be have been burnt by an explosion, they may have fallen from several meters high, they may have been electrocuted... they will always grasp their shoulder.

It is actually the recommended practice in case of chest trauma (such as a broken rib). To rotate an arm at the shoulder, one uses both the muscles in the limb and the chest muscles. Therefore, holding the shoulder prevents any accidental movement of the arm that can cause additional pain and, possibly, aggravate the injury.

Most of the time, however, it's due to the Law of Conservation of Detail, or Rule of Cool. Or whatever.


  • Zero in Mega Man Zero does this when being in a critical low level of health.
  • No matter whether tackled, shot, burned, or exploded, your rudie in Jet Set Radio will skate at their fullest until they're at 10% health, in which they're hunched over with a hand on opposite shoulder.
  • In an episode of Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus has done this too, even though there was no hint of her being hit in the shoulder.
  • Happens from time to time in Sonic X.
  • In Rebuild of Evangelion, Shinji does it after being hit by the abrupt landing of a parachuting girl.
  • In the very last episode of Death Note, Light Yagami was shot in the hands, but he still holds his shoulder as he tries to escape.
  • Whenever the nigh-indestructible InuYasha is injured, he holds his shoulder. In fact, the only time he doesn't hold his shoulder is when he is literally too injured to move.
  • In Berserk Casca holds her shoulder after victorious battle against Adon, where he shot her in said shoulder with a poison dart, so it's justified.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Bolin does this after taking a hit during a pro-bending match. Justified, however, since he did get hit in the shoulder.
    • Tenzin does this briefly after taking a number of hits in season 3. Since the beating he took was very brutal, he probably has a few cracked ribs.
  • In most Star Trek series, no matter where people are shot they tend to limp around holding their shoulders.
    • Chief O'Brien does this a lot. Justified in that once he actually does get shot in his shoulder. Not to mention the times he dislocates his shoulder while holo-kayaking (which gets Lampshaded every time).
    • Captain Picard has also gotten hit in the shoulder. So has Captain Archer, which barely slows him down.
  • Numerous fighters do this in Dragon Ball Z after a brutal battle.
  • Not the shoulder but used the same way, classic Resident Evil installments had the protagonists hold their abdomens if they were weak (and when close to dying they would limp very slowly).
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic series, characters who have been injured to nigh-Critical Existence Failure (or just got up from Non-Lethal K.O.) limp around with their right hand on their left shoulder until healed—even if they hold a lightsaber or blaster in said hand.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), this is a Justified Trope as Sam's shoulder was broken in the fight with Jake.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 5 (and possibly other installments), an enemy commander who retreats at the end of a battle will usually be holding his shoulder as he vows revenge.