Repetitive movements such as throwing a ball, swimming or serving in tennis place considerable stress on the shoulder and can lead to injuries through incorrect technique or biomechanics. The shoulder is also easily injured in contact sports such as rugby where it can be dislocated. As with all injuries, it is imperative that shoulder problems be treated early, as the longer they are left the more difficult rehabilitation becomes.
The most common injuries that occur at the shoulder are:
One of the most frequent causes of shoulder pain, tendinitis can occur due to overuse or repeated use of shoulder muscles with the arm at or above shoulder level. Tendinitis occurs as a result of overuse and/or poor biomechanics. Treatment may involve avoiding the aggravating activity, ice, ultra-sound therapy and soft tissue mobilisations. If there are biomechanical these must be assessed and corrected through a structured programme which will involve specific exercises.
Occurs commonly in tennis players, swimmers, weight lifters, or any athlete who does repetitive, stressful movement of the shoulder joint. Impingement occurs when there is a trapping of the tendons of the rotator cuff between the humerus and the end of the collar bone. The problem can be further complicated by irregular bony outgrowths which are often present in older people.
When the arm is moved upwards and rotated inwards (e.g. freestyle swimming) the soft tissues are compressed. Repeated movement and compression leads to inflammation and swelling, which further increases the impingement.
This condition can be prevented by a proper warm-up and stretches, appropriate strength training and decreasing repetitive shoulder movements. Treatment of impingement is similar to that of tendonitis, with a greater emphasis on correction of biomechanical problems.
The causes of Shoulder Pain are numerous and injuries need to be accurately diagnosed before the appropriate treatment can be implemented. In addition to this any technical or biomechanical problems should be fully assessed by your Physiotherapist.
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