Five Ways to Prevent Shoulder Injuries from Your Orthopaedic Specialist in Manhattan

Brandon J. Erickson, MD March 12th, 2019

Learn How to Stay Healthy and Prevent Shoulder Injuries

The primary role of every orthopaedic doctor is to provide expert care to patients. What about a doctor’s other responsibilities, such as teaching patients about their bodies, how they function, and what they need to stay healthy?

At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, our shoulder specialists in Manhattan not only diagnose, treatment, and comfort patients; we also educate them on injury prevention methods they can apply in their daily lives. Our surgeons have engaged in a multitude of research studies and lectured to athletic trainers, physical therapists, and other surgeons on the most recent advances in injury prevention. Below are five shoulder injury prevention methods that you can apply to your current athletic regime today.

Five Prevention Tips to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy

  1. Prioritize your warm-ups and cooldowns
    We all know we should warm up and cool down before and after exercising, but how many of us actually take an adequate amount of time to do so? Your warm up and cool down length should depend on your fitness levels; those who are new to playing a sport may benefit from warming up for a few minutes longer than more experienced players. Stretching is particularly essential in preventing injuries while exercising. Stretch while your muscles are warm (either after a workout or warm-up), and hold each stretch for approximately 10-30 seconds. Focus on your arms and shoulders if you are an upper body athlete, but do not neglect the rest of your body’s muscles; all athletes can benefit from becoming more flexible through a wide range of stretches.

  2. Stay hydrated and fuel your muscles
    What happens when you neglect to drink enough water or eat properly before working out? You may feel more tired, as if you have lost strength. Fatigue is your body’s way of telling you it needs something -- typically either food, water, sleep, or a combination of the three. Plus, without adequate fuel, you are more likely to develop an injury in the part of your body you use the most. When it comes to hydrating, do not rely on thirst to determine when to drink water. Athletes feel thirsty when they have already lost two percent of their body weight. Drink small amounts of water consistently throughout the day to properly hydrate. Similarly, athletes must make sure they consume enough of the right kind of calories. This will be some combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Talk to your coach, nutritionist, or doctor for advice on what specifically you should fuel your body with. Remember: everyone’s body is different, therefore every diet will vary.

  3. Cross train
    You may be wondering, “How could working out more prevent a shoulder injury?” Think of cross training as mixing up your workouts. There are numerous benefits to cross training; the most applicable one here is you may experience fewer overuse injuries because you are not using the same muscles you normally use in your sport. For example, swimmers who use their upper bodies consistently might consider cross training with running or another lower body exercise. In addition to shoulder injury prevention, cross training also improves overall fitness levels.

  4. Consider your posture
    While this tip is not exclusive to athletes, everyone should evaluate their posture while sitting and standing. If you repeatedly use your shoulder muscles while maintaining poor posture, your chance of injury is greater. Likewise, if your posture is lacking, you may be implementing incorrect form while playing your sport (for example, while pitching or playing tennis). If you think you should improve your posture, ask your coach or shoulder specialist about shoulder motion exercises and tips on changing your daily posture habits. Working your scapular muscles can help provide a good base for posture and decrease the risk of shoulder injuries.

  5. Take recovery days
    Some extremely dedicated athletes don’t want to stop working towards their goals on the court, field, or pool deck. However, even professional athletes have off days when they let their muscles and tendons rest. Overworking your body can surely lead to an injury; if you want to stay in the game, step away for a day or two per week! This doesn't mean do nothing on those days; rather focus on your lower extremities or cardio workout to give your shoulders a break. You’ll likely feel stronger and more energized when you’re well-rested.

When to See a Shoulder Specialist in Manhattan

One last thing: do not play through pain. If you do overwork your shoulders in the middle of a practice, game, or match, do not keep going. Step away, stretch, and if it does not feel better, throw in the towel for the day. Sports shoulder injuries should be treated by orthopaedic professionals who specialize in treating athletes. At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in New York City, you will receive excellent care for any sports injury you have.

To schedule an appointment with a shoulder specialist in Manhattan, or for more information about preventing shoulder injuries, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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