Whether you’re a serious athlete or weekend warrior, a shoulder injury can keep you sidelined for months. The expert providers at Ortho 1 Medical Group in Chula Vista and La Jolla, California, specialize in diagnosing and treating many types of shoulder injuries and conditions.
We also know that avoiding injury in the first place is the best way to protect your shoulder and stay in the game for many seasons to come. Keep reading to learn more about your shoulder health and the ways you can protect it.
What do I need to know about my shoulder?
Your shoulders are the reason you can move your arms with such a wide range of motions, including spinning them in a circle, pulling back to throw a ball or swing a club, and placing your arms in a way that helps you stay balanced as you move.
Each shoulder joint brings together several bones, including your clavicle, humerus (upper arm), and shoulder blade. Muscles and ligaments surround this strong joint, yet like other places of movement in your body, your shoulders are still vulnerable to injury and damage.
Every year, at least 7.5 million Americans experience shoulder problems and injuries. The majority of these injuries result from repetitive motions during sports practice and games, including swimming, tennis, baseball, and golf.
Your shoulders can suffer dislocation, instability, ligament and tissue tears, and even broken bones. Not all shoulder injuries require surgical intervention. But all shoulder injuries require a period of rest and rehabilitation if you want to avoid hurting the joint in the future or developing arthritis later in life.
When it comes to sports-related shoulder surgeries, the most common are rotator cuff repair and arthroscopy. Less commonly, a total shoulder replacement is required. Recovery time after surgery depends on the nature of your injury, the degree of damage, and your overall health.
How can I keep my shoulders healthy?
No one wants a painful shoulder injury — especially when it can keep you out of the game for long periods. Even though our providers at Ortho 1 Medical Group specialize in treating shoulder issues, from the simple to the complex, we’d rather you don’t experience shoulder trouble in the first place.
We put our heads together and came up with our top three tips for how you can protect your shoulder health. Here’s a closer look:
1. Wear the right gear for your sport
If you play a sport that involves contact, be sure to wear the right protective gear each time you practice or play in a game. If you don’t have access to the right gear for your sport, it’s best to avoid contact and practice other skills.
Make sure the protective gear you’re wearing fits you the right way and is secured to your body. If the gear doesn’t fit or if you don’t make sure it’s in place and will stay there, it won’t be as effective at keeping your shoulders protected when you play.
2. Stretch your shoulders
Whether you play sports or your idea of lifting is bringing a cup of coffee to your lips, stretching your shoulders regularly is one of the best things you can do to protect your shoulder health.
Your Ortho 1 Medical Group provider can give you personalized shoulder stretches to perform based on your sports, lifestyle, or any current symptoms. When you stretch, be sure to hold each stretch for at least 15-20 seconds, and execute the stretch with good form to keep your joint in the pink of health.
3. Listen to your shoulders
Shoulder pain affects millions of people every year. If your shoulder doesn’t feel right or starts to hurt — even if you don’t remember getting injured — take it seriously and listen. The first sign of a shoulder problem is almost always pain or discomfort.
If your shoulder is talking to you, schedule a consultation with a team member at Ortho 1 Medical Group. Your provider may recommend physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder muscles, ice and heat therapy to keep inflammation and swelling down and improve circulation, or examine you for a more serious injury.
By listening to your shoulder and seeking attention early, you can avoid more serious injuries. It’s important to let your shoulder rest and heal when it doesn’t feel right. While waiting can be hard, allowing your shoulder to rest and recuperate can mean the difference between getting back to play sooner rather than later.
To learn more about protecting your shoulder health or for help recovering from a shoulder injury, schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Ortho 1 Medical Group in Southern California.