SPORTS IN­JURIES OF THE SHOUL­DER

Avail­able phys­io­ther­apy treat­ments for shoul­der in­juries

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Mar­garita Gure­vich

The shoul­der is a com­mon joint that is in­jured dur­ing sports, par­tic­u­larly those in­volv­ing the use of the up­per limbs, such as ten­nis, swim­ming and oth­ers. In this ar­ti­cle we will look at sev­eral sports in­juries of the shoul­der and the avail­able phys­io­ther­apy treat­ments.

It’s im­por­tant to re­alise that the shoul­der is one of the more com­plex joints in our body. If we look at the knee as a com­par­i­son, there aren’t many vari­a­tions in move­ment di­rec­tion. You can bend it or you can straighten it. The shoul­der, how­ever, be­ing a ball and socket joint, can move in a large num­ber of ways, es­pe­cially when you com­bine move­ments (such as lift­ing your arm and then ro­tat­ing to serve dur­ing ten­nis or per­form a stroke dur­ing swim­ming). As a re­sult, there are a lot of ways in which the shoul­der and its as­so­ci­ated struc­tures can be­come in­jured.

1. Ro­ta­tor cuff tears.

The ro­ta­tor cuff is a group of mus­cles which sta­bilise the shoul­der and con­trol cer­tain move­ments. Par­tial and full tears can oc­cur in any of these mus­cles as a re­sult of trauma, overuse or as a sec­ondary is­sue fol­low­ing some other pathol­ogy of the shoul­der re­gion.

2. Shoul­der im­pinge­ment.

Shoul­der im­pinge­ment de­scribes the ‘trap­ping’ or ‘com­pres­sion’ of the shoul­der’s ro­ta­tor cuff ten­dons dur­ing nor­mal shoul­der move­ments. This ab­nor­mal­ity re­sults in in­jury to the ten­dons, lead­ing to pain, in­flam­ma­tion and re­duced shoul­der func­tion.

3. Bur­si­tis.

Bur­si­tis is a con­di­tion de­fined by in­flam­ma­tion of the bursa. A bursa is a lu­bri­cated sac of fluid which helps re­duce rub­bing or chaf­ing of var­i­ous struc­tures as they move past one an­other. They can be found in many joints through­out the body. Bur­si­tis can be caused by overuse or due to a sin­gle ma­jor trauma.

4. Re­ferred pain.

As with any pre­sen­ta­tion of pain or dys­func­tion, it is im­por­tant to con­sider that the site of the pain may not al­ways be where the root of the prob­lem ex­ists. Our nerves run from our spinal cord, out through the var­i­ous spinal lev­els and pe­riph­er­ally into our limbs, all the way to our fin­ger­tips and toes. There­fore, any dis­rup­tion along the way can lead to pain which is ex­pe­ri­enced fur­ther down the track. A bulging disc in the neck, spinal canal steno­sis or nerve im­pinge­ment at the facet joint are just a few ex­am­ples of ways in which nerves can be af­fected. Your phys­io­ther­a­pist will be able to per­form a thor­ough di­ag­nos­tic as­sess­ment which will de­ter­mine the ex­act cause of your shoul­der pain and sub­se­quently rec­om­mend an ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment plan.

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