Do you play sports regularly? Are you looking for some tips and tricks to help you prevent shoulder injuries when doing exercise? If so, this article is for you! An orthopedic surgeon and an endurance sports physiologist give us their insider knowledge on how to prevent shoulder injuries when exercising.
Shoulder mobility and stability exercises
Like any other joint in the body, the shoulder is prone to damage if it’s not able to move freely and be stable. To help prevent shoulder injuries, you should perform mobility and stability exercises to increase the range of motion of your shoulder joints and improve stability and joint alignment. A lack of shoulder mobility and stability can increase the risk of developing shoulder impingement, which is an inflammation of the soft tissue in the shoulder joint.
A lack of shoulder mobility can also increase the risk of developing shoulder dislocation, which is when the shoulder blade becomes detached from the rest of the shoulder. Having shoulder impingement is often felt as a dull ache in the shoulder region that worsens when you perform overhead activities. If you have shoulder impingement, you may have pain while sleeping or while changing your shoulder position. Here are some of the exercises you can try suggested by the best shoulder doctor:
- Wall slides: Using a wall as a guide, slide your hand toward your wall and then push it back toward your ceiling. Make sure your shoulder doesn’t move and that your wrist is locked in place. Repeat this movement slowly and repeatedly.
- Shoulder shrugs: Using light weights, lift your shoulders to about 90 degrees from your ears and then lower them back down slowly and repeatedly.
- Shoulder circles: With your shoulders at 90 degrees from your ears, swing them back and forth slowly and repeatedly.
Stretching and exercise
Stretching is important before and after exercise to help reduce muscular damage and build muscle endurance. But what’s more important is how you stretch. Stretching before exercise prepares your muscles for the activity and should be about 60-90 seconds long. A static stretch is where you hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Static stretches can be done by holding a certain position and then relaxing. For example, you can hold the top of a push-up position to stretch your muscles. Make sure you don’t hold your stretch too long or your muscles could get injured.
After your muscles are stretched, they should be very warm and loose. This is called the “warm-up” and it prepares your muscles for the activity. Your warm-up should last 10-15 minutes, depending on your individual level of fitness. Next, you should perform a proper “conditioning” routine to increase your level of intensity and help prevent injuries. However, you don’t need to make it overly complicated. You can simply do some light jogging or walking for about 5-10 minutes, jump squats or lunging-type lunges, and then finish off with a few easy calisthenics.
Wear supportive gear
There’s no need to go without protective gear when exercising. When you’re doing activities that put intense force on your joints, it’s important to wear protective gear. In particular, you should wear a good pair of running shoes with good arch support and cushioning, as well as a good pair of running shoes for your training routine. For activities that involve jumping or landing with force, like soccer, basketball, or volleyball, you should wear good protective gear, such as a pair of good running shoes that provide adequate ankle support.
Additionally, for activities that involve repetitive motion, like rowing or cycling, you should wear supportive gear such as wrist or ankle supports. For activities that involve high forces, like weight lifting or throwing sports. you should wear protective gear, such as a good set of safety gloves or a sturdy and good-quality pair of headgear.
Use your body’s own muscles
While it’s important to stretch before exercising, it’s also important not to rely too much on other types of stretching. Too much stretching can actually slow down your recovery and lead to overuse injuries. Rather than stretching before you exercise, you should try to use your own muscles to move through the motions. For example, rather than using your ankles to walk, you should use your knees, hips, and ankles to help move you through the motions. This will help you avoid the risk of developing overuse injuries and will be much more efficient. Stand up and walk while keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet close to your body. Walk in this way for about 10-15 minutes and then stretch out your ankles and knees.
Don’t overdo it
While it’s important to stretch before and after exercising, you don’t want to stretch too much. Too much stretching can actually slow down your recovery and lead to overuse injuries. It’s important to stretch the appropriate muscles, but you don’t want to stretch so far that it causes injury. You should be able to stretch comfortably and not feel any pain before stretching is appropriate. It’s also important not to overdo it – too much exercise is bad for you, even if you stretch beforehand. Start out slowly and gradually build up your level of intensity, but don’t overdo it. If you do, you may develop overuse injuries, which are often referred to as “tennis elbow” or “golf elbow.” Overuse injuries are common among athletes and can occur in any joint in the body, including your joints and muscles involved in your regular activities.
When it comes to preventing shoulder injuries, it’s important to know that the shoulder is particularly vulnerable to injury if it’s not properly stabilized. You should also wear supportive gear when doing activities that put intense force on your joints, such as jumping or landing. And you should use your body’s own muscles when moving through the motions, rather than stretching.