Shoulder sports injuries refer to any damage or harm that occurs to the shoulder joint as a result of participating in sports activities. Shoulder injuries are quite common among athletes, especially those who participate in sports that require overhead movements such as baseball, tennis, swimming, and volleyball.
The shoulder is a complex joint that consists of the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). The joint is surrounded by muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work together to provide stability, strength, and flexibility.
Anatomy of shoulder
The shoulder is a socket-and-ball joint. The upper arm bone (humerus) is topped with a ball-like structure that fits precisely into a shallow, cup-shaped socket in the shoulder blade (scapula). The labrum, a tough cartilage ring that lines the socket, gives the ball of the humerus more depth in which to nestle.
The joint capsule is a protective sleeve of tissue that surrounds the joint and is made up of the ligaments that connect the bones and the tendons that make up the rotator cuff.
Most shoulder injuries in sports involve damage to the connective tissues: the labrum, ligaments, and tendons. Due to the high-force, high-repetition activities required by athletics, problems with these shoulder components are far more common than broken bones and bruised muscles.
Types of shoulder sports injuries
Rotator cuff tears
Rotator cuff tears refer to the tearing of one or more of the tendons that attach the muscles of the rotator cuff to the upper arm bone (humerus). The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and mobility to the shoulder.
Rotator cuff tears can be caused by repetitive overhead motions, traumatic injury, or degenerative changes that occur with age. Symptoms of rotator cuff tears include pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder. Treatment may include rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery.
Labral tears refer to the tearing of the ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint, known as the labrum. The labrum provides stability to the shoulder joint and helps to keep the upper arm bone (humerus) in the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula). Labral tears can be caused by traumatic injury, repetitive overhead motions, or degenerative changes that occur with age.
Symptoms of labral tears include pain, clicking or popping sensations in the shoulder, weakness, and limited range of motion. Treatment may include rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery.
Shoulder impingement refers to a condition where the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed or pinched between the bones of the shoulder joint, causing pain and limited mobility. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help to stabilize and move the arm.
Shoulder impingement can be caused by repetitive overhead movements, bone spurs, or changes in the shape of the acromion (the bone on top of the shoulder blade). Symptoms of shoulder impingement include pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder. Treatment may include rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, surgery to remove bone spurs or reshape the acromion.
A dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm bone (humerus) is forced out of its socket in the shoulder blade (scapula), usually due to a fall, direct blow or extreme rotation of the arm. This can cause severe pain, swelling, and loss of motion in the affected shoulder. A dislocated shoulder can also cause damage to the surrounding ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.
Treatment for a dislocated shoulder usually involves a medical professional manually relocating the humerus back into the socket, immobilizing the arm in a sling or brace, and then following a rehabilitation program consisting of exercises and physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion.
A shoulder separation, also known as an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation, occurs when the collarbone (clavicle) is separated from the shoulder blade (scapula), usually as a result of a fall or direct blow to the shoulder. The severity of a shoulder separation can range from mild to severe, depending on the degree of separation and damage to the surrounding ligaments and tissues.
Symptoms of shoulder separation include pain, swelling, and a visible bump on the top of the shoulder. Treatment may include rest, immobilization in a sling or brace, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery to repair or reconstruct the damaged ligaments.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint, often resulting in limited range of motion. It occurs when the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and thickened, causing the joint capsule to contract and adhere to the humerus.
Frozen shoulders can be caused by injury, surgery, or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disorders. Symptoms of frozen shoulder include pain and stiffness in the shoulder, difficulty reaching or lifting objects, and limited range of motion. Treatment may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery. Recovery may take several months to a year or more.
Surgical treatment of shoulder sports injuries
Surgical treatment for shoulder sports injuries and conditions may be necessary in cases where non-surgical options, such as rest, physical therapy, and medications, have not provided adequate relief. The type of surgery will depend on the specific injury or condition, as well as the severity and extent of the damage.
Some common surgical procedures for shoulder injuries include rotator cuff repair, labral repair, shoulder stabilization procedures for dislocations or separations, and surgery for frozen shoulder.
Rotator cuff repair surgery involves reattaching or rejoining the torn tendon to the bone, using anchors and sutures to hold it in place. Labral repair surgery involves reattaching or repairing the torn labrum using similar techniques. Stabilization procedures for dislocations or separations may involve repairing or reconstructing the damaged ligaments and tissues around the shoulder joint.
Orthopedic implants in shoulder sports injuries
Orthopedic implants can be used in a variety of shoulder sports injuries to help stabilize the joint and promote healing. Some common types of orthopedic implants used in shoulder sports injuries include:
Small screws can be used to hold bone fragments together after a fracture or to secure a bone graft in place during surgery.
Metal plates can be used to hold bone fragments together after a fracture or to stabilize the joint after surgery.
Anchors can be used to attach sutures or other devices to the bone, such as during a rotator cuff repair or labral repair surgery.
Pins can be used to hold bone fragments in place during a fracture, or to stabilize the joint during surgery.
Prosthetic implants can be used to replace a damaged or degenerated joint, such as in cases of severe arthritis or after a joint replacement surgery.
The type of implant used will depend on the specific injury or condition, as well as the individual’s age, activity level, and overall health. Orthopedic implants by Zealmax Ortho are designed to be biocompatible, meaning they are made of materials that are safe for use in the body and will not cause an adverse reaction. At Zealmax ortho, they are also designed to be durable and long-lasting, to help promote healing and restore function to the shoulder joint.