Shoulder injuries - Golf Injuries

Shoulder injuries are less common in golf than other sports due to the stable environment, upright stance and the lack of physical contact; however overuse injuries do occur fairly regularly; the most common of these are outlined below:

AC joint pain

The AC (acromioclavicular) joint joins the clavicle to the scapula and can be susceptible to injury in sports where direct contact is common or repetitive actions involving the shoulder are made. AC joint pain is commonly caused by sprains and tears in the connective tissue.

Symptoms of AC joint problems

Usually, AC joint problems are symptomised by localised pain and swelling.

Treatment for AC joint pain

Treatment will depend on the nature and severity of the injury; minor sprains will usually recover quickly if the shoulder is rested; anti-inflammatory medication and ice will also help to ease symptoms. More serious sprains and tears may take several weeks to heal; surgery may be required in some cases, while others will heal with prolonged periods of rest and medication, which may include steroid injections. Physiotherapy will also help to increase the range of movement in the joint and strengthen the surrounding tissue.

Rotator cuff tendonitis

The rotator cuff is made up of four major muscles and serves to protect the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tendonitis is caused by inflammation of the tendons which surround the rotator cuff; this is usually caused by overuse.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis

Symptoms usually include localised pain, swelling, tenderness and restricted movement; pain will usually increase if the arms are raised upwards or lowered from a height. Rotator cuff tendonitis usually contributes to impingement syndrome, which is caused by the swollen tendons becoming trapped in the subacromial space (the area beneath the bony protrusion on the top of the shoulder). Impingement syndrome causes the tendons to become more inflamed and irritated and will restrict movement in the joint.

Treating rotator cuff tendonitis

The most effective treatment for rotator cuff tendonitis is rest; ice, pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication will also help to ease symptoms. Physiotherapy and specific stretches and exercises will help to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility and movement around the joint. Impingement syndrome can usually be treated in the same way; surgery may be carried out in extreme cases. Steroid injections may also be given to reduce swelling quickly.

Preventing shoulder injuries

Good technique will help to reduce the possibility with suffering from a shoulder injury. Completing thorough warm-up and cool down sessions will also help to prevent injury. Regular stretching will strengthen the surrounding muscles and connective tissue and increase movement and flexibility around the joint.

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