5 Tips for Preventing Shoulder-Related Sports Injuries

Most sports activities require the use of your shoulders. The shoulder provides a wide range of motion that also puts your shoulders at risk for injuries. People who participate in athletic activities involving repetitive movements or overhead motions like tennis, swimming, pitching, or weightlifting, commonly experience shoulder injuries. In fact, 30% of collegiate level athletes participating in overhead motion sports experience shoulder injuries. While accidents and injuries happen, there are several things you can do to help prevent shoulder-related sports injuries.

The team at Coastal Ortho can help you overcome many sports-related injuries, including shoulder injuries. 

Common shoulder-related sports injuries

Everyone from the occasional player to professional athletes experience sports injuries from time to time. Unfortunately, when a shoulder injury occurs, it can take you off the field and out of the game for months. Some of the most common shoulder-related sports injuries treated at Coastal Ortho include:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Labral tears
  • Dislocated shoulders
  • Sprains or strains
  • Bursitis
  • Fractures

The majority of sports-related shoulder injuries involve injury to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles rather than the bones. The three most severe shoulder injuries that usually do not heal on their own and require surgical treatment include rotator cuff tears, labral tears, and dislocations. 

Minor sprains, strains, and other shoulder injuries also progress to bigger problems if they aren’t taken care of right away. Learning how to prevent shoulder-related sports injuries is important to your overall health and well-being δΈ€ and for staying in the game. Here are 5 tips for injury prevention:

1. Warm up and stretch before and after practice or games

You can help prevent injury to the tendons and muscles that make up your rotator cuff with a little stretching before and after you participate in sports activities. Reach one arm at a time up and over your head, then fold your arm to reach down your back as if you are trying to scratch your back. Do this with both arms.

Next, extend one arm out and across your chest, holding it in place with your other arm. You’ll feel the stretch in your shoulder. Repeat on both sides.

2. Avoid overusing your shoulder

Since many shoulder injuries occur because of repetitive movements, you can help prevent injury by avoiding overuse of the shoulder. Baseball and softball pitchers should avoid pitching on consecutive days, for example, and all athletes should give their shoulders a break by focusing on other activities that rely on their legs instead of their upper body.

3. Increase and maintain shoulder strength

Keeping your shoulder strong helps prevent injuries. Simple exercises performed several times per week like arm circles, yoga, and push ups help build and maintain shoulder strength.

4. Pay attention to your shoulder off the field

Shoulder injuries from daily activities are almost as common as sports-related injuries! When you’re reaching for something out of reach, grab a ladder. Be mindful of overusing your shoulder in your day-to-day activities to help prevent repetitive motion injuries that carry over to your sports activities.

5. Listen to your bod

No pain, no gain is nonsense when it comes to your shoulder. If you feel shoulder pain, do not ignore it. Even mild aches in the shoulder can indicate a shoulder injury. The earlier you get treatment for a shoulder injury the better your chances of making a full recovery and returning to your sports activities.

How are shoulder injuries treated?

Treatment depends on the nature and severity of your injury but is focused on relieving shoulder pain and preserving your shoulder’s range of motion. Common shoulder treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections. For severe or persistent shoulder injuries, your doctor may suggest surgery.

If you experience a shoulder-related sports injury, call Coastal Ortho or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.