Tips for Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury

If you find yourself with a shoulder injury, your first question might be, “When can I get back in the game?” The answer depends on the severity of your injury and the sport you play, but Upper Extremity Specialists is here to help.

Sports that require throwing or repetitive overhead motions put extra strain on your shoulders and increase your risk of suffering shoulder injuries. While anyone can develop a shoulder injury, they’re very common in athletes who participate in the following sports:

Part of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group, Kristopher Downing, MD, and Daniel Brereton, DO, specialize in shoulder injuries. In this blog, they offer tips for getting back to sports as safely and quickly as possible after a shoulder injury.

Work with a sports medicine specialist

Sports medicine focuses on preventing and treating musculoskeletal injuries in athletes. Dr. Downing and Dr. Brereton have extensive experience diagnosing and treating shoulder injuries, and their goal is to facilitate healing, so you can have a safe, pain-free return to athletics.

If you suffer an injury, they evaluate your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan that may include conservative care, shoulder surgery, or a combination of the two. They also take the demands of your sport into consideration as you recover and return to your activities.

Participate in physical therapy

Whether you need shoulder surgery or not, physical therapy could help you get back in the game faster after an injury. Physical therapy includes personalized exercises based on your injury and the sports you play.

Your physical therapist guides you through stretching and strengthening exercises. Along with in-office sessions, they give you a series of exercises to work through at home. Building strength in your shoulder can help it heal and lower your risk of suffering another injury in the future.

Find safe ways to stay active

It’s important to follow your recovery plan after a shoulder injury. Returning to sports or other strenuous activities too soon could reinjure your shoulder and set you back, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.

Dr. Downing and Dr. Brereton can recommend safe activities that help you maintain cardiovascular fitness during your recovery period. There are lots of conditioning exercises you can do without using your injured shoulder.

Return to sports once you’re cleared to play

Every athlete and every injury are unique. There’s no set period of time that’s required for physical therapy or other treatments, such as regenerative medicine.

As you recover, Dr. Downing and Dr. Brereton check your progress and adjust your treatment plan when necessary. In general, you can return to sports safely when you don’t feel pain in the movements your sport requires, such as throwing or reaching above your head.

Our team at Upper Extremity Specialists understands how frustrating injuries are, and we’re here to help you get back to the activities you love. To learn more about returning to sports after a shoulder injury, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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