Shoulder injuries - Athletic Injuries

Shoulder injuries are common in throwing events.

Impingement syndrome

Impingement syndrome is also known as thrower’s shoulder due to the prevalence of the condition amongst athletes who compete in throwing events.

Causes of impingement syndrome

Impingement syndrome is often caused by rotator cuff tendonitis and occurs when the swollen tendons become trapped in the subacromial space (this is the area underneath the bony portion at the top of the shoulder joint). This injury is commonly caused by overuse; in this instance it is cuased by the repeated throwing action.

Symptoms of impingement syndrome

Symptoms include pain, swelling and a restricted range of movement; pain may increase when the arms are raised above the head.

Treatment for impingement syndrome

Treatment usually involves rest and ice therapy; anti-inflammatory medication and pain relief may also ease symptoms. In extreme cases, where symptoms are recurrent, surgery may be performed; generally, this smoothes the surface of the acromion which decreases the likelihood of the tendons getting trapped and irritated in the future.

Rotator cuff tendonitis

What is rotator cuff tendonitis?

Rotator cuff tendonitis occurs when the tendons surrounding the rotator cuff become inflamed; this is generally caused by overuse. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and is responsible for protecting the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tendonitis is the most common cause of shoulder pain in the U.K and is particularly common amongst swimmers and field athletes.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis

Symptoms are similar to those associated with impingement syndrome; these include localised pain, swelling and a decreased range of movement around the joint; pain may increase when the arms are raised or lowered.

Treatment for rotator cuff tendonitis

Treatment usually involves resting the affected shoulder and taking medication to control pain and reduce swelling. The shoulder should be allowed to heal before training is resumed. Physiotherapy may help to increase flexibility and strength around the joint which may reduce the risk of injury in the future.

Preventing shoulder injuries

Adequate periods of rest should be enjoyed between sessions which apply pressure to the shoulder. Warming up and cooling down thoroughly will also help to prevent the risk of injury.

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