How Weekend Warriors Can Avoid Shoulder Dislocations

Joseph A. Abboud, M.D. August 31st, 2020

With the current pandemic, the shoulder surgeons at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute are still seeing many patients near South Philly, who are engaging in recreational sports that result in shoulder instability, also known as shoulder dislocations. Sometimes, they are trying to escape the relative isolation of the pandemic and get their adrenaline flowing. Young adults and college students are finding new ways to stay fit and avoid the crowds in gyms. Often they are engaging in such sports as biking, roller blading, rock climbing, surfing and various other sports. 

Patients particularly susceptible to shoulder dislocations include individuals who are in their teens or twenties, and are often times engaged in “weekend warrior” type activities. Unfortunately, they are engaging in sports they’re not used to or not optimizing their conditioning prior to participation. This often times leads to situations where an individual can become vulnerable to injury. In addition, sports that involve high speed quick decision making can result in injury to the most experienced and skilled athletes.

Tips to avoiding injury:

1.) Participate in activities where you have good lighting.

Avoid playing sports when it’s dark outside. You may trip over something you don’t see and hurt yourself. You also may not be able to see danger that may be looming. Be on the safe side and wait for full daylight. 

2.) Try to challenge yourself appropriately for your skill level.

Of course, you want to push yourself to be the best athlete you can be, but listen to your body. You may be putting it through something it can’t handle. Pay attention to warning signs, such as being too sore. Make sure to take rest days to avoid overdoing it. 

3.) Travel to areas where the surfaces are optimal and the risk of fall from rough terrain can be minimized.

Hilly paths, courses and fields are invitations to get hurt. If you’re used to a certain terrain, this may make all the difference in your activity, but tread lightly in unfamiliar areas.   

4.) Flexibility training and routine cardiovascular conditioning will improve your endurance and minimize risk of injury.

Practicing a sport day in and day out will take a toll on your body, so make sure you’re stretching daily. For sports that focus on cardio, you may benefit from conditioning the body to ramp up your endurance and allow you to play for longer without feeling tired. Practice running and increase your time and mileage week over week. 

What to do when an injury occurs? 

When an injury occurs, often times patients will notice sever pain and locking up of the joint. The shoulder contour may look abnormal. Seeking care immediately by a medical professional is important. Typically, these are injuries that require a visit to an emergency room and not an urgent care facility. The reason for this is the shoulder may require being put back in the socket and necessitates sedation and close monitoring which often times are not available at an urgent care facility. Sometimes these injuries can result in damage to ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and/or bones.

What happens after the injury? 

After you have been diagnosed with a shoulder dislocation and been seen at an emergency room it is important that you are seen by a shoulder specialist within a few days. At Rothman Orthopaedics our shoulder surgeons can see you in a timely fashion, evaluate your condition, order any necessary advanced imaging and get you on the path to recovery.

What are the treatment options for shoulder dislocation? 

Often times a first time dislocation can be treated with physical therapy and gradual resumption of activity. However, some injuries may require operative treatment. At Rothman Orthopaedics, we are well versed in all of the latest minimally invasive techniques to get you back to your life. When you want the best, come see the best at Rothman Orthopaedics. 

Dr. Joseph Abboud is a shoulder & elbow surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedics and is seeing patients in South Philly, Center City and King of Prussia. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit RothmanOrtho.com or 800-321-9999.

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