Monday, 14 September 2020

Shoulder injuries in sports and their treatment

The human shoulder joint is a Ball and Socket Joint. The upper arm has a ball-like structure fitting into a depression in the shoulder blade. Unfortunately, in every sport, the shoulder is asked to perform tasks involving repetitive activities that put great stress on the structure leading to injuries.

Sports medicine has come up with treatment involving very little hospital stay or invasive methods of treatment. Of these, Orthogen P is one of the most successful. This is a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment, patented and popularised by Regencare, a Kochi, Kerala, India based health centre for sports medicine, regenerative therapy and rehabilitation. Platelets are blood cells that cause blood clots and provide healing functions; and plasma is the liquid portion of the blood. PRP involves taking the patient’s own blood, concentrating the platelets and reinjecting it back into the body releasing grown factors stimulating growth.

Some common sports injuries and their treatment:

Sprains and Strains are most common. A sprain occurs when the tissue connecting two bones is stretched and injured, and a strain involves injury to a muscle or tissue attached to a bone. These respond well to R.I.C.E., and Rehabilitation. R.I.C.E. -- REST from activities; ICE application to reduce pain; COMPRESSION to decrease swelling; ELEVATION to keep the injured area higher than or level  with the heart. Rehabilitation involves specialised exercises.

Rotator Cuff Injury - another common sport injury caused by repetitive movement of the upper body. Common in swimming and tennis. Rotator Cuffs are the muscles and tendons that keep the ball/head of the upper shoulder bone firmly in the shoulder socket. The main cause is wear and tear to the tissue and is treated with rest, pain control and rehabilitation. Extreme cases may need surgery and/or PRP treatment.

SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior) Injury - Labrum is the ring of cartilage surrounding the shoulder socket and the injury is usually in the form of a tear. Repetitive overhead motion is the main cause of this injury. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medication;physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder, restore movement and function. Serious cases may involve surgery to remove or repair the torn area.

Shoulder Instability is common in contact sports like football. When this occurs the shoulder joint is not securely held and the upper arm bone may partly or fully pop out of its socket. Immediate treatment is to put it back quickly, followed by pain and anti-inflammatory medication and a sling. Long term treatment involves identifying the cause of the instability and treating it.

Impingement is when the bones of the shoulder rub excessively against the shoulder muscles. Again excessive overhead motion is the cause. Here also, rest, anti-inflammatory medication and therapy are the most common treatments; with extreme cases needing surgery to widen the space around the rotator cuff, allowing free movement.
Blog reviewed by: Dr Vineeth MB
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