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It is wonderful to see the gyms reopening and society taking another step towards normality! It is very exciting that people can get back inside a gym and resume their usual exercise routine. However, now is the time to ensure that the risk of injury is a little as possible so people can continue to enjoy their exercise.
Shoulder injuries are common and, in particular, tendon injuries are particularly common. All of our tendons, ligaments and bones respond to forces that we place on them and they become weaker or de-conditioned when we haven’t stressed them with exercise. This poses a risk for people who immediately try to return their usual exercise activity. The most common tendon injuries around the shoulder involve the rotator cuff and pec major tendon.
The ‘rotator cuff’ is the collective name given to the four tendons that run around the ball at the top of the arm and are crucial for good shoulder function. Injuries to the rotator cuff are a very common cause of shoulder pain. Tears of the rotator cuff can be painful and the patient feels ‘something go’ in the shoulder if the tear is an acute injury. Weakness is common presenting problem for which the patient seeks a professional opinion. Most often the tendon is just strained and will recover very well with a good course of physiotherapy. A large tear with weakness secondary to an acute tear often need surgery and the outcome is usually very good.
Overloading of the pec major tendon, especially when doing activity such as bench press, can lead to a pec major tear. A tear is easy to diagnose as there is pain followed by bruising on the inner side of the upper arm and loss of symmetry of the pec major muscle on the chest compared to the other side. Acute tears of the pec major tendon usually benefit from a surgical repair and the results are very good.
The best way to prevent injury when returning to exercise and weight training after a lay off is to give yourself plenty of time to stretch pre-workout and then adjust your exercise routine to make a gradual return to resistance exercise. An example would be to reduce the amount of weights or resistance by half from your usual level for a week or two and then increase to three quarters for a week or two before returning to normal. This allows all of the tendons and ligaments to recondition and get used to higher forces being placed through them.
It is wonderful that gyms are finally reopening and that people return to their favourite exercise and resistance training! I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to the gym!
If you’re worried about shoulder pain, book in to see Mr Corner today by calling our friendly team on 01442 497 254.
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