3 Common Upper Body Sports Injuries and What Orthopaedics Can Do to Treat Them

Photo by Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash

It always fascinates us to see what the human body is capable of. Which is why we love working with athletes and hearing all about their record feats. But as orthopaedic sports specialists, we know all too well that these records require athletes to push their bodies to the limit, which often comes at an unfortunate price – that price being injury.

Since our speciality lies in upper body injuries, we frequently work with athletes such as golfers, tennis and squash players, as well as swimmers. So, we are well acquainted with their sports troubles.

What are the most common upper body injuries that these athletes face? Let’s take a look.

1.Tennis and Golf Elbow

Medically referred to as epicondylitis, this type of sports injury is characterised by pain on the outside or inside of the elbow (for tennis players it’s usually the outside and for golfers it’s the inside). Due to overuse of the medial or lateral muscle complexes, these muscles become inflamed and this causes wrist or hand motions to become very painful. Patients who suffer from this frequently complain about a lack of grip strength.

2.Rotator Cuff Injury

Interestingly, around 20% of sports injuries involve shoulder joint injury. However, these injuries most commonly come in the form of rotator cuff injuries. Any sort of sports that incorporate a lot of throwing or swinging of the arms (such as boxing, rowing, tennis and swimming) are prone to this specific injury.

Rotator cuff injuries are often caused by lack of flexibility, strength or stabilisation and can occur when the same motion is repeated over and over again. Symptoms to look out for here include pain upon lifting the arm and pain upon reaching behind your back or weakness experienced when moving the shoulder joint. There can also be swelling around the shoulder.

3.Wrist Sprain

Wrist sprains are caused by the stretching of the ligaments that connect the bones and joints together in the wrist. This injury occurs in sports such as gymnastics and boxing, where there is often extreme pressure placed on this joint. Wrist sprains are apparent when a patient cannot apply weight to the joint without experiencing pain. There may also be swelling or bruising around the wrist area.  

What Can Sports Orthopaedic Specialists Do to Treat Upper Body Injuries?

The type of treatment an orthopaedic specialist will offer will depend on the type and the severity of your injury. In mild cases, anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, pain medication and splints or slings may be prescribed, but in more severe and chronic cases, surgery and ongoing physical therapy may be needed. It is important to note that the sooner you address your injury the better, as neglecting it could lead to further injury or permanent damage.

If you suspect you may have one of these common upper body sports injuries, then we suggest you make an appointment straight away to let us assess the extent of your injury and what sort of treatment may be needed to treat it. Find your nearest Health in Motion practice for a professional injury assessment.

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