• Danielle Slatter

Tips to Prevent Shoulder Injury

The shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) is a ball and socket joint. It is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, at the cost of joint stability as the shoulders have a wide range of motions, able to easily flow in and out of all planes of movement which makes them much more prone to injury. Whether it’s for your job, home upkeep, hobby, or sport repetitive movements of the shoulder can greatly increase your chances of hurting it. Which is why Shoulder injuries are one of the most common injuries seen in an orthopaedic practice. They are also quite long winded to rehab properly, so I see many shoulder injuries which have been around for quite a while and they start to affect the structures around them.

Here are 5 tips to avoid those shoulder injuries :-

#1 Check your posture

While a healthy, balanced posture is important for the proper movement of your neck and back, it’s also important for your shoulder health. When you slouch forward, you’re not just pulling the shoulder joints forward as you round your back, but also rotating them inward. This can create imbalances throughout the upper back, chest, and shoulders, putting extra strain through several of the structures that, over time, can lead to abnormal patterns of movement, making you more prone to injury. A classic shoulder overuse issue can be improved by just moving your computer mouse closer to you, we tend to overextend especially when using it frequently.

#2 Warm up

This may seem like a no brainer to some, but so many ignore this important step. And it’s important to remember, warmups aren’t just for workouts. If you have a physically demanding job or you’re going to be jumping into some activity your body isn’t used to, don’t skip this step. Take a few minutes to do some shoulder movements, stretches, and targeted warm-up exercises, preparing your shoulders and arms. It improves circulation, eliminates joint stiffness, and prepares your muscles for the movements ahead. The joint is surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts like oil in an engine, allowing your bones to move past one another more smoothly. Warming up is getting that fluid where is needs to be prior to exertion.

#3 Strengthen your shoulders

There are many shoulder injuries caused by weaknesses in specific muscles, so strengthening them can help you avoid injury. Oftentimes, through work or habitual motions we tend to do just a few movements within a

certain plane of movement and neglect others. Consider what motions you perform on a regular basis and try to add in the other planes of movement. For example, if you’re constantly reaching in front of you and keeping your arms in toward your sides, try adding in some controlled movements and exercises that take your arms back, out to the side, and rotating outward. This can help balance out the strength in your shoulder, preventing many common injuries.

#4 Avoid sudden heavy loads

Let’s face it, when stuff needs to get done, it needs to get done. You may be impatient when it comes to relying on others for help but trying to go into “beast mode” to take care of some heavy lifting by yourself is just asking for an injury. You have nothing to prove to yourself or anybody else, so ask for help. If you must do things on your own, use levers, pulleys, or wheels to help. Be sure to stabilise well first, keep your elbows in toward your sides (the most stable positioning for your shoulder), and go slowly.

#5 Eat healthy foods

Healthy eating is one of the most important aspects in your overall health, and your muscles and joints most definitely benefit from some specific nutrients. Protein rich foods like meats and legumes help your muscles recover and stay strong. Turmeric, ginger, and garlic are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties. And calcium rich foods like milk, spinach, greens, and sweet potatoes can keep your bones strong. These all work together to keep your muscles and joints working well, decreasing your chances of injury. And even if an unavoidable injury does happen, keeping your body well-nourished may speed up and enhance your recovery efforts.

So, as you go about your daily routine, consider adding in some of these tips to keep your body healthy and injury free!

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