ShoreOrtho Sports Performance
& Injury Prevention Tips
A monthly series presented by:
Damon A. Greene, MD
Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon
Shore Orthopaedic University Associates
“Surfers Shoulder” also known as Shoulder Impingement is a common overuse injury of the shoulder.
When we paddle we use the front of our shoulder the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and anterior aspect of our deltoid. We also strengthen shoulder elevators the trapezuim and levator scapula among others. This causes a net upward and anterior directed force across our shoulder. This then leads to impingement of the rotator cuff on the acromion (the roof of the shoulder). Intern the tissue around the rotator cuff becomes inflamed which then will lead to bursitis.
If left unaddressed scar tissue can form in the capsule causing a loss of a range of motion and chronic shoulder pain and ultimately rotator cuff tears. In order to prevent this proper paddling technique is crucial. Secondly learning to activate the posterior and inferior aspects of our shoulders while preforming activities will help keep us paddling stronger and out of pain.
While there are many different exercises that can achieve this, one of my favorites is an exercise called Wall Angels.
To begin, plant yourself against a nice, roomy wall space. Elbows start at a 90 degree bend, with the elbows parallel to the ground. Hips, spine, shoulder blades…all against the wall! To get to the stretch-and-strengthen part – although you might already feel some tension while holding the arms at 90 degrees – begin to straighten the arms directly overhead, trying to at least keep the elbows sliding up against the wall. As you get stronger and looser, maybe the forearms and back of the hands will be able to stay in contact with the wall, as well.
Dr. Greene is a Sports Medicine Fellowship-Trained, Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon.
He specializes in; acute and chronic ligament, tendon, or cartilage injuries to all major joints; primarily shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. He treats fractures surgically when necessary, but performs casting, bracing, and other non-operative treatments such as specialized injection therapies.