Steps to prevent shoulder injuries

Imagine a 16-year–old athlete being told that a shoulder surgery that was supposed to relieve his shoulder problems has caused permanent damage to his shoulder, and it will never be the same. Any hopes of being normal again, or pursuing an athletic career, are gone. The damage is done.

This sort of story is happening to more and more young athletes due to the pain pumps used after shoulder surgeries. Shoulder problems are occurring in young athletes, causing them to look to surgery to relieve the pain and get back into the game. Little did they know that after the surgery, the pain pump used to alleviate their pain would leave them with permanent damage and little hope of returning to sports.

Since nothing can be done about past cases, the only thing to do is try to prevent shoulder injuries for young athletes in the future. Some of the sports that put pressure on the shoulder include swimming, baseball, softball and motorcross. No matter which sport, the steps to shoulder injury prevention are all the same.

First, using the proper technique is very important when throwing or using shoulder motions. When fatigue sets in, more strain is put on the shoulder causing problems to increase. Know the correct technique!

Next, flexibility of the shoulder is crucial. The rotator cuff muscles are dependent on good positioning of the scapula, which create the ability for the muscles to produce power. However, flexibility does not automatically mean stretching. Recent studies have shown that static stretching for flexibility should not be done prior to training. Static stretching is used to stretch muscles when the body is at rest. It is recommended that instead of static stretching, dynamic stretching is best for the shoulder. Dynamic stretching uses speed of movement, momentum and active muscular effort to bring about a stretch, according to Sports Fitness Advisor.

The next step to preventing shoulder injuries is core strength and stability. The important areas for the shoulder include the lumbar spine (lower back), cervical spine (neck) and the scapulothoracic joint (shoulder). If these areas are strained, it is passed onto the shoulder joint. It is crucial to strengthen and stabilize these areas.

The last step is muscle strength. Once the core is stabilized, it is important for the shoulder and arms to be strengthened. This can be done through weights or Thera-Bands.

Practicing these steps can help prevent shoulder problems that would eventually lead to surgery. Practice them. It’s worth it.