What are Sports Injuries of the Shoulder?
Sports injuries of the shoulder are injuries sustained while playing indoor or outdoor sports such as baseball, tennis, football, basketball and golf, or while exercising. Sports shoulder injuries can result from sports accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. Common sports injuries of the shoulder include fractures, instability/dislocations, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.
Common Sports Injuries of the Shoulder
- Shoulder Labral Tear
- Throwing Injuries of the Shoulder
- Overhead Athletes Shoulder
- Baseball and Shoulder Injuries
- Little League Shoulder
- SLAP Tears
- AC Joint Separation
- AC Joint Dislocation/Acromioclavicular Joint Dislocation
Treatment for Sports Injuries of the Shoulder
Treatments include management of bruises, strains and sprains, fractures, dislocations, chronic injuries, or torn shoulder ligaments. Surgery is mostly accomplished by minimally invasive methods and healing is expedited by physical therapy and a rehabilitation program to ensure a quick return to your sporting activities.
The most common non-surgical or conservative treatment recommended for sports injuries include:
- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) Therapy:
- Rest: Avoid activities that may cause injury.
- Ice: Ice packs can be applied to the injured area, which will help to diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly on the skin.
- Compression: Compression of the injured area helps to reduce swelling. Elastic wraps, air casts and splints can accomplish this.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured part above the heart level to reduce swelling and pain.
- Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that trigger symptoms and changing your lifestyle
- Physical Therapy: Regular exercise regimen to improve range of motion and strengthen muscles
- Anti-inflammatory Medication: Meds like naproxen and ibuprofen are used to relieve inflammation and pain.
- Cortisone Injection: If physical therapy, medications, rest, and activity modification do not yield the desired results, then a cortisone injection may be helpful. Cortisone is a very effective anti-inflammatory medicine for conditions such as bursitis and is a long-term pain reliever for tears and structural damage.
Surgical treatment is employed when an individual has sustained serious sports injury by means of a severe fracture, bone displacement, and soft tissue tears not amenable to conservative treatment.
Some of the common surgeries performed on athletes include:
- Shoulder Instability Stabilization
- Shoulder Labrum Reconstruction/Repair
- Rotator Cuff Repair
- Shoulder Fracture Fixation
- Proximal Bicep Tenodesis
- Distal Bicep Tendon Repair
- Triceps Repair
- Pectoralis Tendon Repair
- Slap Repair
Prevention of Sports Injuries of the Shoulder
Some of the measures employed and advised by sports medicine specialists to prevent sports-related injuries of the shoulder include:
- Follow an exercise program to strengthen your shoulder muscles.
- Gradually increase your exercise level and avoid overdoing the exercise.
- Ensure that you wear properly-fitted protective gear such as elbow guards, eye gear, face masks, mouth guards and pads, comfortable clothes, and athletic shoes before playing any sports activity, which will help reduce the chances of injury.
- Make sure that you follow warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after a sports activity. Exercises will help to stretch the shoulder muscles, increase flexibility and reduce soft tissue injuries.
- Avoid exercising immediately after eating a large meal.
- Maintain a healthy diet, which will help to nourish the muscles.
- Avoid playing when you are injured or tired. Take rest breaks after playing.
- Learn all the rules of the game you are participating in.
- Ensure that you are physically fit to play the sport.