Swimmer’s Shoulder: What Causes It and How to Treat the Pain

November 14, 2018 2:02 am Published by Leave your thoughts

You’re probably familiar with tennis elbow, but how about swimmer’s shoulder? What causes this type of shoulder injury in Las Vegas, NV? Read on to find out, as well as learn some of the ways to manage and treat the pain of swimmer’s shoulder.

What causes swimmer’s shoulder?

“Swimmer’s shoulder” is a broad term used to describe a range of painful shoulder overuse injuries that occur among swimmers. There are a number of parts that make up your shoulder—including bones, joints, ligaments and muscles—and any of these parts can be injured during typical swimming motions. The pain can range from local pain in the shoulder joint to a radiating pain that runs from your shoulder and neck all the way down your arm. As an overuse injury, swimmer’s shoulder is typically caused by repeated trauma, as opposed to a single isolated incident.

How is this condition diagnosed?

The shoulder is a mobile joint controlled by muscles and ligaments that cover it. It’s the most used joint in your body, so overuse is not uncommon in a lot of people whether they are swimmers or do heavy lifting every day.

It’s very important to get a correct diagnosis so you can receive the best treatment and get back to your regular routine more quickly. For this reason, be sure to see a doctor who specializes in swimmer’s shoulder injuries and treatment. Your physician will run tests on your shoulder to determine where the pain is coming from, as well as talk to you to figure out what seems to be causing your shoulder pain.

What are the treatment options?

The best way to prevent swimmer’s shoulder is to ensure proper stroke technique. Poor technique is the number one cause of shoulder pain among swimmers, followed by general overuse of the shoulder joint. Overworking your joint’s muscles and ligaments over a period of time can cause rotator cuff tears, tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff impingement, capsule and ligament damage or cartilage damage. Here are a few ways physicians treat this type of injury:

  • Rest, ice and compression: Shoulder injury patients want relief from pain and inflammation—the initial treatment for soft tissue shoulder injuries is the combination of rest, ice packs, compression and elevation. Early on in your treatment, lifting your arm and sleeping may be uncomfortable. Avoiding pain-inducing movement or activities, applying ice as directed and supporting the injured shoulder are crucial for healing.
  • Physical therapy: Repetitive overhead motions during swimming put a person at risk for swimmer’s shoulder, which is different from other types of shoulder trauma. Once your injury gets evaluated, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or physical therapist to begin retraining your muscles and ligaments.
  • Surgery: Because severe cases of rotator cuff impingement could lead to a tendon tear, you must seek medical help immediately following this type of shoulder injury. Icing the area and taking medications might not be enough for you, so your doctor may recommend a surgical approach.

Contact Bernard Ong, M.D. for an evaluation of your shoulder injury in Las Vegas, NV. If you need to proceed with surgery, rest assured that you are in good hands. Call Dr. Ong’s office today to schedule an appointment!

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