One body part that is continuing to get a lot of attention due to a current rise in injury is the shoulder. Injuries to the shoulder joint are increasingly becoming a problem in many sports at many different levels. The two most popular injuries to the shoulder that require surgical repair depending on the size of the tear are labrum and rotator cuff tears. Whether it is a sudden freak accident or something that progresses over time, because of its wide range of motion, the shoulder joint is very prone to injury. You might recall two of college football’s top quarterbacks in 2010 Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy both had major shoulder injuries and surgeries that put them in the hot seat in terms of keeping their high priority status. I myself suffered three shoulder injuries in my 4 year career at Miami University, all which resulted in surgery.
As mentioned earlier, these shoulder injuries many times start from minor tears or instability that progressed over time. So it’s important to know the early signs of what may result in a major shoulder injury. Two of the most popular warning signs are instability and impingement. Individuals suffering from an instability problem will experience pain when raising their arm. They also may feel as if their shoulder is slipping out of place. Impingement problems can occur during activities that require excessive overhead arm motion. Impingement can easily be tested by placing the palm of your hand on the opposite shoulder, then raising your elbow toward your face without removing your palm. If you feel any pain you should inform your trainer of doctor.
It’s also important that as coaches, athletes and even parents we take responsibility in taking preventative measures in preventing these shoulder injuries. Continue to stretch and strengthen the major and minor shoulder muscles by performing movements that isolate the shoulder with small moderate weight.
Many exercises can be done with a resistance band. One simple exercise can be done by attaching a resistance band around a sturdy object so that is about the height of your hand. Stand with your elbow bent to 90 degrees. Rotate your arm out to the side and away from your body. Hold for a brief second and then slowly return to the starting position. A similar movement but working different area is to stand on one end of the resistance band, and hold your arm out to the side to about 90 degrees with your palm facing down. Rotate your shoulder so that palm is facing forwards. Hold for a brief second and then lower to the starting position.
Again, it is important to test for any signs of shoulder injuries so that they do not turn into s serious issue. Also, even if no injury is present, continue to strengthen your muscles in the shoulder to prevent easy injury.