Martha Jefferson Monday: Common Sports Shoulder Injuries - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: "What are the Most Common Shoulder Injuries that Happen While Playing Sports?"

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No matter how old or young you are, if you or your kids play sports, there is always a possibility of injury. 

Dr. Stephen Gunther, a shoulder surgeon at Martha Jefferson Orthopaedics, says for people who play overhead sports like tennis or water polo, shoulder injuries are most common. 

"Common injuries are contact injuries, such as falling laterally on your shoulder where you can press and break your clavicle or reaching out away from your body and landing on the outstretched arm or hand and you can tear the tendons and ligaments inside the shoulder." 

Depending on the severity of the injury, the good news is, surgery may not be necessary. 

"We start with non-operative treatments.  Rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, changing your activity level and relaxing your shoulder for awhile before you go back to the sport," commented Gunther.

In other cases, shoulder surgery is needed, but new techniques make the procedure much less invasive. 

"A lot of these surgeries were done open a few years ago. Now, most of the surgeries we do are outpatient arthroscopic surgeries and they don't hurt nearly as much as they use to and the rehab is about the same time," said Gunther. 

In order to prevent surgery, Gunther recommends strengthening the shoulder and the shoulder girdle located in the back. He also says that as people age, they should consider decreasing the number of contact sports they play. 

For children, the best thing to do is to try out a variety of sports and not just stick to one thing, as Gunther says too many young athletes are playing only one sport and wearing out their joints in a way that they shouldn't be. 

For more information on this topic call Martha Jefferson Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

If you have a questions related to your health you'd like for us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com. 

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

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