The shoulder is one of the most complex and largest joints within the body. Therefore, it’s unsurprising it’s prone to a lot of different injuries. One of the most common causes of these injuries is overuse.
Here, we’ll discuss why the shoulder is prone to overuse injuries and the most common types of injuries it presents.
Why are shoulder overuse injuries so common?
The shoulder is one of the most used joints in the body and it is exposed to a lot of repetitive motions in daily use. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why overuse injuries are commonly experienced in patients.
These types of injuries can occur for a number of reasons. The overuse of the shoulder can lead to inflammation of either the fibres within the joint or the sac which cushions the joints. They can also be brought on by repetitive overhead arm movements, or through muscle strain.
While overuse injuries can occur through daily overuse, it’s typically athletes who are most susceptible to these types of injuries.
What types of shoulder overuse injuries can present?
There are three main injuries which can present due to overuse of the shoulder. These include:
If the muscle fibre becomes torn, it’s classified as a strain. If it’s the ligament that’s torn, it will be classified as a sprain. Both of these injuries have differing levels of severity, ranging from grades 1 to 3. If the injury is classed as a grade 3, it means the tissue has been completely ruptured.
Patients who have existing shoulder injuries or who repetitively lift can suffer with Bursitis. This is where the small Bursa sacs which lubricate and cushion the bones, ligaments and tendons, becomes inflamed. Occasionally, it can also be brought on by a direct hit to the shoulder.
Finally, Tendinitis occurs when the tendon sheaths of the shoulder become inflamed or irritated. Overuse causes a lot of friction which irritates the sheaths. Lifting weights which are too heavy or putting excessive strain onto the tendons can lead to this type of injury.
Study reveals sports specialisation in young athletes to be a key issue
Thanks to huge sporting events such as the Olympics, more young people are getting into sport than ever before. While this is largely a positive thing, a new study has highlighted the dangers sports specialisation presents in young athletes.
The ‘Growing Up Today’ study, analysed data from 10,138 young athletes in the United States. Interestingly, it discovered that young female athletes partaking in sports specialisation were at an increased risk of developing an injury. It also found that those specialising in one sport had an increased level of activity.
The results of the study clearly show that partaking in one sport excessively does increase the risk of overuse injuries. Therefore, athletes need to be aware of the risks involved when failing to give the shoulder adequate rest or pushing themselves too hard.
If you suspect you have an overuse shoulder injury, book a consultation with a specialist today. The earlier you seek treatment, the less impact the injury will have on your life, work or sporting opportunities.