Football is a classic American pastime that comes with its fair share of risks. Due to the high-impact nature of the sport, football players are prone to a number of injuries—especially around their shoulders. However, it’s easy to prevent injury by using proper form, wearing protective pads and a helmet, and following these common injury prevention protocols.
One part of protecting your shoulders involves knowing the risks. In this blog, you’ll find detailed descriptions of some of the shoulder injuries I see most frequently in football players, as well as how to prevent them.
Here are five of the most common injuries in football and how to avoid them.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Your rotator cuff is one of the most important parts of your shoulder. It allows you to rotate your arm, reach behind you, and reach overhead. For football players, it’s essential to passing and throwing the ball long distances.
The best way to prevent rotator cuff injuries is to strengthen this part of your shoulder. There are a number of different exercises and conditioning moves you can do, including:
- External Rotation
- Internal Rotation
- High-to-Low Rows
- Reverse Fly’s
When playing football, you’re constantly engaging your shoulders and your arms. Tendonitis occurs as a result of overuse, typically seen from excessive throwing in football. It is characterized by inflammation of the tendons within the shoulder—causing discomfort and pain when you rotate it.
The best way to prevent tendonitis is properly warming up your shoulders before every practice and game, and working on shoulder conditioning exercises throughout the year. Additionally, be sure that you’re wearing proper shoulder pads and that they fit correctly. Wearing ill-fitting equipment often leads to injuries because your shoulders aren’t fully protected.
SLAP (superior labrum anterior-posterior) tears are common in almost all sports, but there is a simple way to prevent them. It all depends on how you warm up before game play, and how you’re treating your body during the off season.
For high-impact sports like football, staying in shape year round is essential. Continue exercising regularly throughout the year, and increase the intensity of your exercises as football season approaches. When conditioning your shoulders, focus on your rotator cuffs. You should also learn how to fall correctly to prevent injuries from trauma.
Excessive overhead motions (like throwing) can cause your rotator cuff tendon to become pinched at the back of the shoulder. This may be caused by shoulder looseness or improper form, and can cause reduced shoulder function.
The best way to prevent an injury like this is by always using proper form when playing football. Work closely with your coach and teammates to ensure you’re always displaying proper form for throws, passes, and plays.
Invest in Your Shoulders for a Lifetime of Game Play
While it’s important to do everything you can to protect your shoulders, there’s always a certain level of risk from playing football. If you suffer an injury while playing the game and are worried about your shoulders, please don’t hesitate to consult with an orthopedic surgeon.
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The material contained on this site is intended for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE– it is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider directly with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.