How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries

Sets of People Who are Likely to Get Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are very common today due to our daily activities. There tend to be 2 different sets of people who get shoulder injuries. First is the younger athlete such as a baseball pitcher or the swimmer.

The second group to commonly get shoulder injuries is the more mature person who can injure or even tear their rotator cuff. Shoulder injuries may be sports related but more often is due to lifting something, reaching overhead or into the back seat, or may occur without any specific injury.

Avoiding Shoulder Injuries 

Both sets of people who have shoulder injuries can prevent these problems from ever occurring. This requires just a few minutes every other day and can help avoid loss of use of the shoulder and arm. The first step to preventing shoulder injuries is to stretch the arm at least every other day, but this can be done daily.

A simple stretch that is important especially for throwing athletes is to stretch the post capsule of the shoulder. This is done by bringing your arm across your chest to the other side. Use your right hand to pull your left arm across to stretch the back of your left shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds then do the same for the other shoulder. Do this 3 times for each shoulder.

Shoulder Stretch

Another important shoulder stretch is to bring your arm straight overhead. Again this can be done using the other arm to assist. If you already have some tightness, lean up against a wall with your arm up and use your body weight to help stretch the shoulder forward.

It is best not to stretch when you are cold so take a warm shower first or else just a quick walk, light jog or jumping on a bike for 5 minutes is better before you start working the shoulder.

Strengthening Your Shoulder

You should also strengthen your shoulder every other day to prevent shoulder injuries. You need to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles which means working on shoulder rotations. Many people who work out only strengthen the big muscles of the shoulder like the deltoid and pects.

By neglecting the smaller rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, you are more likely to develop a shoulder injury. Therabands are elastic bands that are great for keeping your cuff strong and preventing shoulder injuries. These are available at most gyms and can be purchased at sporting goods stores.

Conclusion

Preventing shoulder injuries and the resulting shoulder pain requires minimal time commitment. Simple stretching and strengthening are key to keeping you using your arms without any problems. These simple practices should be incorporated into your workouts and will prevent young athletes from missing sports and more mature patients from requiring physical therapy or even surgery.

If you’re suffering from a shoulder injury, call the orthopedic doctors at Westchester Sport and Spine for a comprehensive evaluation.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Health Associates and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.