5 Tips for Preventing Shoulder-Related Sports Injuries

5 Tips for Preventing Shoulder-Related Sports Injuries

Many sports put you at high-risk for a shoulder injury. Football, basketball, soccer, wrestling, volleyball, and baseball are some of the primary offenders. 

If you play one of these high-risk sports, you can take steps to lessen your chances of injuring your shoulders. Orthopedic specialists Nic Gay, MD, and Masi Reynolds, DO, of Silicon Valley Orthopaedics, located in Foster City and Fremont, California, explain five tips to help keep your shoulder safe.

1. Always warm up before practice or play

Exercising cold muscles is an absolute no-no. It invites injury.

A warm-up includes moving your whole body with dynamic exercises like jumping jacks or a brisk walk. Then move your shoulder muscles through a full range of motion with unweighted shoulder rotations and presses. That makes the muscles more pliable and moves synovial fluid through the joints. 

Build up your weight or intensity gradually, too. Going too hard too soon is a common cause of injury.

Save static stretching the tops and fronts of your shoulders for after your practice or play. Ask Dr. Masi to demonstrate proper stretching techniques and which ones will benefit you the most.

2. Strengthen the right muscles

When you strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, you reduce your risk of subacromial impingement — an injury that causes pain when you take actions, like throwing a ball.

Dr. Masi can show you how to use a cable or band to perform simple external rotation exercises to warm up these muscles before play and then give you a prescription of exercises to strengthen the muscles during your weight-room training. 

3. Be aware of pain and fatigue

Overusing your shoulder leads to injury. Always rest between hard workouts and give yourself at least one day off each week. We can help you understand guidelines associated with your sport, too. For example, baseball and softball players often have pitching guidelines as to how many pitches they can throw per game and week. 

If you feel discomfort with your shoulder, don’t ignore it. Stretch, ice, and extra rest can go a long way in preventing an injury. 

Never play through shoulder pain.

4. Use proper form

Your coach and trainers are there for a reason. Listen when they give you tips about pitching or swimming butterfly. In the weight room, they can also help you strengthen the appropriate muscles around the joint to improve your stability. If you have questions about proper movements and form, reach out to our sports medicine specialists for recommendations and advice.

5. Cross-train

You may love your sport, but cross-training with other activities develops other facets of your fitness and gives your shoulder a break from repetitive movement. If you’re a swimmer, for example, running or biking helps develop your cardiovascular fitness while giving your shoulder a rest from swim strokes. 

If you have a shoulder injury, seek help from our expert team at Silicon Valley Orthopedics. We welcome you to make an appointment to get an accurate diagnosis and customized treatment plan. Call today or use this website to schedule your visit.

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