Shoulder injuries are one of the most common sports injuries, affecting athletes from a wide range of sports. Studies show that shoulder injuries account for 7.5% of all sports-related injuries. Most injuries in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons and can be caused by overuse of the muscles, any trauma, or poor technique. Though the prevalence of injuries varies, some sports like football, hockey, baseball, tennis, etc., show a higher chance of shoulder injuries than others.
Causes of Shoulder Injuries in Athletes
Some common causes of shoulder injuries include:
Overuse: Repetitive overhead movements, such as throwing a ball, can cause stress on the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles, leading to injury.
Contact: Athletes who participate in contact sports, such as football or hockey, are at a higher risk of shoulder injuries due to collisions with other players.
Improper technique: Athletes who do not use proper technique when performing overhead movements, such as serving in tennis, are at a higher risk of shoulder injuries.
Muscle imbalances: Weakness or imbalance in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can lead to shoulder injuries.
Common Shoulder Injuries that affect Athletes
Common shoulder injury types and their symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of sport the athlete plays, as well as their level of physical activity. Some of the most common shoulder injuries seen in athletes include:
Strains and Sprains: Shoulder sprains occur when the ligaments overstretch while shoulder strain is when the fibres in the muscles or tendons overstretch or tear. Symptoms of shoulder sprains and strains may include pain, swelling, bruising, and limited range of motion. In more severe cases, athletes may experience weakness, instability, or a popping or tearing sensation in the shoulder.
Bicep Tendonitis: Bicep tendonitis is a condition characterized by inflammation or irritation of the bicep tendon. The biceps tendon attaches the biceps muscle to the shoulder joint and is responsible for flexing the elbow and rotating the forearm. Symptoms may include pain in the front of the shoulder that worsens with movement, weakness in the affected arm, and a feeling of popping or snapping in the shoulder joint.
Rotator Cuff Tears: A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in our shoulder that help lift and move our arms away from the body. The rotator cuff keeps the ball of the upper arm bone in the shoulder blade socket. When the tendons pull away from the arm bone, it causes rotator cuff tears. Symptoms of rotator cuff tear include- difficulty and pain caused by raising arms, shoulder pain that worsens at night or while resting, shoulder weakness, and struggle to lift items, etc.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Rotator cuff tendonitis, also known as tendonitis, affects tendons and muscles that help move your shoulder joint. Tendonitis means that your shoulder tendons are inflamed. Some of the most common symptoms are- pain and swelling in front of the shoulders, stiffness, pain when you raise your arms, lower them, or take them behind, etc.
SLAP tear: SLAP lesions affect the labrum, which is a ring of fibrous cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket. The term “SLAP” stands for “superior labrum anterior to posterior,” which describes the location of the tear in the labrum. Symptoms of a SLAP lesion may include pain, weakness, instability, and a popping or clicking sensation in the shoulder.
Pain Management of Shoulder Injuries
Here are some tips to help prevent shoulder injuries in athletes:
Rest and Recovery: Rest and recovery are essential for preventing overuse injuries. Athletes should take adequate rest breaks and avoid overtraining, particularly during periods of high-intensity training or competition.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is an important component of pain management for shoulder injuries. A physical therapist can develop a customized rehabilitation program that includes exercises to improve the range of motion, strengthen the shoulder muscles, and improve posture and body mechanics.
Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice packs to the shoulder joint can help reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy, such as using a heating pad or taking a warm shower, can help promote blood flow to the injured tissues and reduce muscle tension.
Shoulder injuries are a common problem among athletes, but they can be managed well with combinations of the above methods. In case of managing minor aches and injuries, keeping pain relief products like Zandu Fast Relief Gel and Spray can help athletes get back to their training without a break. Recommended by the IAP, Zandu Fast Relief Gel is 1.5 times stronger and provides relief in just 2 minutes. The Zandu Fast Relief Spray has Turbo Action Formula that provides instant relaxation from muscle stiffness. Physiotherapist recommended, its natural active ingredients that are proven to provide instant and long-lasting relief from shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain, muscle pain, sprains, and strains. However, athletes need to speak to their doctors or physiotherapists, in case the pain persists.