Mid-Season Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder dislocation can put an athlete out from ten days to the rest of the season

(RxWiki News) Is it better to do a quick fix or long-term solution when it comes to shoulder injuries? Doctors said it depends on the bigger picture.

A recent study into mid-season shoulder injuries determined that nonsurgical vs. surgical management should be based on the athlete’s history and athletic future.

Preventative strength and stretching exercises were highly recommended.

"Always warm up before exercise to prevent injury."

Brett D. Owens, MD, from the Keller Army Community Hospital, West Point, New York, led a study into the management of shoulder injuries in athletes. In the study, researchers were looking for the best way to treat mid-season shoulder injuries.

Many athletes who follow a rehabilitation program can return to their sport within three weeks. But the chance of reinjury in athletes from ages 15 to 20 was 87 percent.

When an athlete dislocates or partially dislocates a shoulder, surgical options can prevent further damage. But the athlete must recover for the rest of the season on the bench.

In 45 percent of shoulder joint instability injuries, young athletes lost more than 10 days from sports. 

Arthritis of the shoulder occurred in up to 40 percent of athletes with recurring shoulder instability injuries.

Different shoulder braces were tested for shoulder protection, but in sports where range of motion is key—athletes could not successfully perform actions required by the sport.

Dr. Owens’ research team found there was no simple solution to mid-season shoulder injuries in athletes.

They did recommend ways to prevent the likelihood of shoulder injury. Shoulder muscle strength exercises could help keep the tendons in place. And stretching shoulder muscles could help keep the range of motion smooth and flexible.

Overall, the authors recommended looking at the whole picture before choosing a treatment path. Taking into account the athlete’s fitness and injury history and athletic expectations in the future.

This study was published in August in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were found.

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Review Date: 
August 12, 2012