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5 Tips for Preventing Shoulder-Related Sports Injuries

5 Tips for Preventing Shoulder-Related Sports Injuries

Shoulder injuries are common. Athletes and middle-aged people are at elevated risk of serious injury to their shoulder, whether to the bones, muscles, or soft tissue. When you’ve injured your shoulder, most people experience painful symptoms.

Joseph L. Humpherys leads our extraordinary team at Rapid City Orthopedics, a conveniently located practice In Rapid City, South Dakota. Dr. Humpherys has treated numerous shoulder injuries over the years, taking patients from injured to rehabilitated with the utmost care and efficiency. 

What can happen to my shoulder?

Your shoulder exists at the intersection of three joints that are padded by ligaments, tendons, muscle, and cartilage. It gives your arm the range of motion needed to climb, lift, and help maintain your balance and speed while running. Though your shoulders, like any other joints, have their defense in the form of cushioning, it’s still easy for a painful shoulder disorder to affect you. 

As you age, your risk of injury rises, particularly from falls. Also, the risk of shoulder injury rises substantially for people engaged in contact sports. The risks for athletes include repetitive motion injury — for example, throwing a baseball. Non-athletes can experience a shoulder injury due to working with gardening equipment or painting. 

What are some tips for preventing shoulder-related sports injuries?

Here are five tips for reducing your risk of a should-related injury:

1. Take the time to stretch properly

The importance of stretching before physical activity cannot be overstated. Stretching fills your muscles with blood and readies them for physical activity. While stretching, make sure to hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds and move into and out of stretches slowly. 

Your stretch routine should fully engage one muscle group at a time. Taking a moment to breathe between deep stretches helps your body to warm up safely. Add music for more fun while stretching, but be mindful of the tempo — stretching should be deliberate and gentle to prepare your body for physical activity.

2. Wear protective equipment

Whether you play contact sports or work in construction, use the available and appropriate gear to protect your body. That means remembering your shoulder pads for sports like hockey and football. Most athletes are vulnerable to repetitive motion injuries that affect the shoulder, necessitating extra protection and mindfulness of how your body feels.

3. Keep working out

Despite the risks of exercise, staying in shape is your body’s primary defense against injury, especially sports injuries. While your cartilage is meant to provide a cushion from impacts, it’s incumbent upon a healthy cardiovascular system to ensure that nutrient-rich oxygenated blood continues to circulate through your body.

4. Make your life ergonomic

Equally important for athletes and non-athletes alike, maintaining proper posture is a conscious decision you make for the long- and short-term health of your back and shoulders. Choosing seating and surfaces that keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine in alignment goes a long way in preventing injury. 

5. Strengthen your shoulders

This may seem obvious to some, but you can protect your joints by strengthening them. If you’ve been active for a while, make sure you’re working on your shoulders. If you’re a beginner, Dr. Humpherys can provide exercises that are a good start for strengthening your shoulders. 

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter pain medication or comes back after treatment, Dr. Humpherys has options that will work for you. Call 605-755-6730, or book an appointment for a consultation with us online. 

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