The shoulder is a vital component for most sports. Whether you are swinging a bat or club, throwing a ball or tackling a player, you need your shoulder joints to perform correctly. Due to the complexity of the acromioclavicular and glenohumeral joints, many different injuries can occur when playing certain sports, causing pain and mobility problems. Here are some of the common sports that can cause shoulder injuries.

Baseball and Softball

Throwing a ball over or underhanded takes the strength and range of motion that the shoulder joints provide. The ligaments, tendons and cartilage (labrum) can be damaged from repetitive and forceful throwing actions or when swinging the bat. Common baseball shoulder injuries include rotator cuff tears or sprains, labrum tears and shoulder instability.

Football and Rugby

Contact sports like football and rugby can result in a wide variety of shoulder injuries, depending on the position played. Throwing positions can experience many of the same injuries as baseball players but they are also susceptible to impact and fall injuries. Shoulder dislocation injuries can occur with falls and tackles, especially direct hits or landing on an outstretched arm. AC joint separation is commonly seen in contact sports.

Tennis and Golf

Swinging high or low uses many of the components in the shoulder, which can result in injuries. Tennis can have similar injuries to throwing sports like baseball – a common tennis shoulder injury is a superior labrum anterior and posterior (SLAP) tear. In golf, it is not the high swing but the low swing that can injure the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability and impingement are some of the possible golfing shoulder injuries.

Prevention of Sport Shoulder Injuries

Not all shoulder injuries from playing sports can be prevented, but strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments is important. Proper stretching is crucial and using the correct form when throwing or swinging can limit the risk of shoulder injuries.

If you have an athletic shoulder injury and need professional medical treatment, contact the office of Dr. Steven Struhl at our AC Joint Separation clinic. Call our office to schedule a shoulder exam and consultation with Dr. Struhl, one of NYC’s top orthopedic specialists.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD