surfing shoulder injuries

Surfing Injuries Found to Mostly Involve Knee or Shoulder

A new study has revealed that surfing injuries largely involve the knee or shoulder. Researchers from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, discovered shoulder injuries were the most prevalent, followed by knee injuries.

Interestingly, the study also revealed most knee and shoulder injuries suffered by surfers, don’t require surgery. Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and how these injuries could potentially be avoided.

Understanding the study

The researchers from the New York-based hospital, carried out the latest study due to a lack of reported surfing-related injuries. They wanted to determine the kinds of injuries surfers experienced, particularly orthopaedic injuries.

A retrospective review was carried out, using medical records from patients who presented with surfing-related injuries from January 2009 to August 2018. They identified shoulder injuries were the most common, relating to 46% of surfing injuries. This was followed by knee injuries at 28%, foot and ankle related injuries at 9% and spine injuries at 6%.

The limited studies carried out prior to this one commonly pointed to the lower extremities and the head being the most commonly injured in surfing. However, this latest study reveals the opposite, highlighting the dangers to the upper body. Out of the shoulder injuries presented, most had suffered an anterior shoulder dislocation. In terms of knee injuries, torn medial collateral ligaments were most common.

Interestingly, the study also showed that out of all of the surfing injuries experienced, only 17% of patients required surgery to fix the issue. The conclusion of the study was that although surfers are at risk of injury, out of all of the different sports, it is still one of the safest.

Can these surfing shoulder injuries be prevented?

While surfing is considered one of the safest sports, it is still worth being aware of preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of injury.

Making sure you’ve had adequate lessons before getting in the water is essential. This will teach you how to correctly manoeuvre the board through waves and how to keep your balance. Another thing that will improve your balance, is working on strengthening your core.

You should also pay attention to weather conditions. Being aware of riptides and rough waves will prevent you from taking unnecessary risks when surfing. However, as water conditions can change quickly, it isn’t always possible to prevent falls or injuries when surfing.

What treatment is required?

The treatment required for shoulder related injuries that occur during surfing will be dependent upon the type of injury sustained. If anterior shoulder dislocation has occurred, it could simply be popped back into place depending upon the severity of the dislocation.

Occasionally, surgery may be required but only for the most severe injuries. It is really important to seek a diagnosis from a trained shoulder surgeon. They will be able to assess the shoulder and pinpoint the exact problem, alongside the best course of treatment to resolve it. Most treatments will likely be non-invasive, particularly if the injury is mild.

For diagnosis and treatment of surfing shoulder injuries, call 0203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation at the London Shoulder Specialists.