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Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury

Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury

A shoulder injury doesn’t have to spell the end of a promising sports career, but it may require you to step back and ensure you’re thoroughly rehabilitated before you return to the field, court, or diamond. 

At The Spine and Sports Center in Sugarland and Houston, Texas, Dr. Benoy Benny provides rehabilitation and therapy to get you safely back to doing what you love as soon as possible, without running the risk of further injury.

Common sports-related shoulder injuries

If you have acute or chronic discomfort in your shoulder joint, even if you aren’t aware of a specific instance when you may have suffered a shoulder injury, you should take shoulder pain seriously. 

Trying to push through pain is never a good idea, and neither is medicating the pain away to get off the bench. A sports medicine doctor should evaluate your shoulder for signs of any of the following that could be the core cause of your shoulder pain:

Dislocation (subluxation)

Your shoulder joint has the most mobility of any joint, which puts it at highest risk of dislocation. Dislocation often happens in contact sports after a hard fall or impact with another player. 

A dislocation increases your chances of future dislocations. Going back to play too soon after this kind of injury makes this much more likely to happen than if you follow your doctor’s rehabilitation plan.

Rotator cuff injuries

One major component of your shoulder joint is your rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that help keep the ball in the socket, but also provide strength, flexibility, and rotation for your shoulder. Rotator cuff tendons can tear, causing immediate instability in your shoulder, extreme pain, and loss of strength and mobility in your arm. 

Treatment for severe rotator cuff injuries almost always includes surgery, which can be open joint or arthroscopic. For more minor injuries or injuries due to overuse, non-surgical intervention can usually restore function. The important thing is not to rush rehabilitation. 

Labral and SLAP tears

The labrum is the cushion surrounding your shoulder joint socket. Superior labral anteroposterior (SLAP) tears are injuries to the top part of your labrum and are common in sports that require overhead movements (such as baseball or tennis), or which involve tackling. 

Some labral tears may be misdiagnosed as rotator cuff tears due to similarities in symptoms, including shoulder instability. Arthroscopic surgery is often required to treat SLAP tears, and returning to sports too soon can greatly increase your chances of re-injury.

Your sports rehabilitation and therapy plan

At The Spine and Sports Center, we might recommend any or all of the following: 

Our team at The Spine and Sports Center lays out a clear treatment plan that includes a slow and sensible return to sports, and we help you rehabilitate your shoulder joint completely before we clear you for practice or play. The amount of time you’ll need to fully recover can depend on many factors, and you may need to be patient while your shoulder heals and regains strength.

To learn more about returning to sports after a shoulder injury, schedule a consultation with Dr. Benny and his team. You can get in touch by calling our location closest to you or booking an appointment online today. 

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