What Causes Shoulder Injuries?

Shoulder injuries are commonly seen in athletes and people who perform repetitive overhead arm movements. When a shoulder is injured, the tendons, ligaments, and muscles are impacted. An injured shoulder during sports activities occurs progressively due to repetitive shoulder movements. The most common form of shoulder injury is rotator cuff tear, which occurs mainly in athletes.

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1. Pitching the ball

Baseball players are prone to wear and tear of the shoulder. This sport involves a lot of throwing, and this activity can impact the rotator cuff tendons. Repetitive throwing may lead to swelling and tearing in the rotator cuff tendons, and shoulder instability. The two main reasons for shoulder pain include too much stress on the tendon and labrum tears. The pain usually happens during or after throwing.

2. Tennis tears

The second group at risk of a rotator cuff tear is tennis players. Rotator cuff injury due to tennis may either be a partial-thickness or full-thickness tear. Most tears are partial, but older players are prone to full-thickness tears. Due to the nature of the sports, the shoulder is at high risk of injury. Excessive shoulder movements and stroking the ball can both cause this injury to occur.

3. Lifting weights

People who participate in excessive weightlifting are also more prone to shoulder injury. Too much stress put on the shoulder may cause the tendon to degenerate, leading to a tear. Weightlifting should be done stably without any awkward movements during performance.

Any other risks?

Besides athletes, certain occupations put a person at higher risk of tearing the shoulder. One such example is painters. Excessive and repetitive housework, like gardening, may also lead to rotator cuff pain. People over 60 and those with a family history of rotator cuff tears are also more likely to experience this injury.

Reducing the pain

Management of the injury depends on the intensity of the pain and the impact on shoulder mobility. The first step is to stop the activity causing the pain, avoid sleeping on the affected side, and get plenty of rest. Conservative treatments such as ice compression, pain medications, and physical therapy may help some stages of a shoulder injury. If these fail, then the doctor may recommend steroid injections or surgery. The healthcare provider will examine the shoulder and provide the best treatment.

Returning to play

After treatment of a rotator cuff tear, the time to resume sports depends on the severity of the injury and treatment received. Those undergoing surgery will require a longer time to recover from a shoulder injury. Speak to the orthopedic surgeon about resuming sports and what precautions are needed.

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