Shoulder injuries from sports activities are common. This is especially true considering that the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body with most of its support coming from surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Shoulder injuries from sports can affect the joint itself (glenohumeral joint) or the surrounding ligaments (sprains), tendons (ruptured tendon) and muscles (strains). Shoulder sports injuries can result from a direct blow to the shoulder, overstretching of surrounding structures, or overuse injuries.
Common Shoulder Injuries in Sports
There are a variety of shoulder injuries that a sports enthusiast may experience. Some of the common shoulder injuries in sports are the following
Some shoulder injuries may lead to stiffness in shoulder movement called frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
Physical Therapy for Shoulder Sports Injuries
Physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms from your sports injury. Your physical therapist will likely ask about your activity at the time of your injury and about your past medical history. Then, he or she will conduct a thorough physical examination and evaluation of your injured shoulder including associated structures.
Your answers to questions by your physical therapist, the results of your evaluation and examination and your stated goals will help your therapist in formulating a comprehensive rehabilitation program for you.
Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Shoulder Injuries
Depending on your specific problems and goals, your physical therapist may employ a combination of any of the following physical therapy treatments
- Cold therapy or cryotherapy
- Immobilization (splinting/bandaging)
- Heat therapy
- Electrical stimulation (TENS)
- Ultrasound (US)
- Shoulder joint mobilization
- Physical therapy exercises
- Range of motion (ROM) exercises
- Passive range of motion (PROM) exercises at full range or with stretch at end-range
- Active-assistive range of motion (AAROM) exercises
- Active range of motion (AROM) exercises
- Active-resistive range of motion (ARROM) exercises
- Stretching/Flexibility exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Patient education
- About the patient’s specific shoulder problem
- Precautions to observe
- Activity modification
- Suggest work or home environment modification
- Injury prevention
- Work or sport-specific rehabilitation program
- Soft tissue mobilization
Your physical therapist may provide you with a home management and exercise program that you can do at the comfort of your home to help speed up your recovery.
Return to work or sports
The time that you can return to your full work or sports activity depends on how fast your injured tissues heal and your motivation in participating in your rehab program. Your doctor or physical therapist will be able to help you determine whether you can return to your full activities.
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