The shoulder is a complicated area of the body made up of four joints, many muscle groups, tendons and ligaments. Injuries of the shoulder are divided into three types: Impingement, Strain and Instability.
- Impingement is where the top surface of the humerus comes into contact with the under surface of the acromion which results in compression of tissues. This can also be called Shoulder Tendonitis of Shoulder Bursitis.
- Strain occurs when excessive loads go beyond the abilities of the rotator cuff and it is unable to keep the head of the humerus in contact with the scapula and results in a small tear of the rotator cuff tendon.
- Instability occurs in a similar situation to a strain however instead of a small tear it results in dislocation or partial dislocation.
What to do?
In the first instance, rest the shoulder, ice the area and it may pay to take anti inflamatories. After a day or two if there is no change and pain persists see your doctor or a physiotherapist and follow their advice.
Can I still exercise while injured?
Your doctor or physio will monitor your progress and provide you with rehabilitation exercises for you to do at home to retrain and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Otherwise follow the rule that you can train if it doesn’t cause you pain; you can do this by keeping the arms low and in front of you when performing exercises like Low Pulley Row or Cable Press. Keep the weights light and use a narrow grip with any press exercises. However you should always get your doctors or physio’s advice and permission first so as not to cause further damage.
What exercises should I avoid?
Keep away from arm movements out to the side as in lateral raises, and avoid deep bench presses or dips. Also stay away from any overhead work. All these will aggravate the injury and you’ll end up going backwards in your recovery programme.