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Healthbeat 4: Shoulder injuries in the summer

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, in 2006, approximately 7.5 million people went to the doctor’s office for a shoulder problem.

One local orthopedic surgeon says, not much has changed in recent years.

“The shoulder is an amazing joint, it’s the most mobile joint in the human body,” said Dr. Brian Johnson, CNOS Orthopedic Surgeon. “It has 17 muscles, and all of those muscles have to work together fluidly in order for your shoulder to have normal function.”

Although school is out for summer, organized sports don’t stop.

And many times, with sports, comes injuries– specifically to the shoulder.

Shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting.

“One of the costs is instability, where your shoulder dislocates,” says Dr. Johnson. “Or minor injuries to the labrum or rotator cuff. Those are the most common injuries that you would see with repetitive activities or overhead activities most commonly done in the summer.”

Dr. Brian Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon at CNOS, says that the body’s main protective signal is pain- and that you should always listen to it.

“So people should be looking out for pain in the front of their shoulder, or painful clicks,” adds Dr. Johnson. “But a painful click could be a hallmark of a labral tear, if their shoulder feels unstable, if it feels apprehensive, or if it pops out completely. That’s clearly a sign of problems.”

Shoulder injuries are treatable, but the best way to avoid them is to take it easy and listen to your body.

“Shoulder problems are treatable, many of them get better without surgery, many of them can get better without it.”

Dr. Johnson says that most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones.


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Jennifer Lenzini

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