Shoulder Saving Tips

shoulder
shoulder. Photodisc/Getty Images

The shoulder is a complex joint and it have both good mobility and stability. Due to the demands placed upon the joint, and it's structural limitations, the shoulder is a common area of injury. Both acute trauma (occurring quickly and suddenly) and chronic overuse or repetitive movement can result in injury to the shoulder.

Shoulder Overview

The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint which relies mainly upon muscles and tendons for stability.

The joint capsule holds it all together. The acromion process (a projection on the scapula or shoulder blade) covers the capsule from above and forms an arch that the tendons pass through. The four muscles of the rotator cuff, the pectoralis, the deltoid, the trapezius and the bicep and triceps muscles all surround the joint and control motion.

Shoulder Injuries

The common injuries to the shoulder include strains, capsule tears, bursitis, tendonitis, and separations or dislocations. Muscle strains can result from acute injury or chronic conditions and are often due to improper biomechanics or overuse. Rotator cuff injuries can be very debilitating and require immediate attention. R.I.C.E is the best immediate treatment. This includes rest, icing, compression and elevation. A physician evaluation is also recommended to determine the extent of the injury.

Bursitis and tendonitis are chronic conditions that usually result from overuse, improper body mechanics, or muscle imbalance.

If the bursa sack or tendon becomes inflamed, it becomes more likely to rub (or impinge) under the acromion and the risk of a chronic injury increases. Education regarding proper body mechanics, and a good flexibility and strengthening program can help decrease injury risk.

Dislocation occurs when the head of the humerous comes out of contact with the glenoid fossa (the ball and socket become separated).

A physician should be seen immediately. Proper treatment will prevent further injury to the surrounding tissue and will result in a faster recovery.

Prevention

Good upper body strengthening and flexibility can reduce the risk of shoulder injuries from sports. The stronger and more flexible your joints, the more easily they are able to withstand impact or hold up under repetitive motions. A basic weight training and stretching program done three days per week is usually sufficient to maintain overall muscle integrity. You may also consider visiting a personal trainer for a sport-specific strength and flexibility routine.

Good cardiovascular conditioning also helps prevent injuries that occur as a result of fatigue. Using proper body mechanics is also essential.

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