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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael Macri

Shoulder Injuries on the Slopes: A Comprehensive Guide to Treatment and Recovery

Skiing and snowboarding are exhilarating winter sports that attract enthusiasts from all walks of life. However, the thrill of carving through fresh powder comes with its share of risks, and shoulder injuries are a common concern for participants. In this blog post, we'll explore the types of shoulder injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding and delve into a comprehensive guide to treatment and recovery such as shockwave therapy, Active Release Technique™ (ART), dry needling, and corrective exercises.


Skiing Injuries

 

Understanding Shoulder Injuries in Winter Sports

 

Shoulder injuries in skiing and snowboarding often result from falls, collisions, or improper technique. Common injuries include dislocations, fractures, sprains, and strains. The repetitive motion of carving turns or the impact of a fall can place significant stress on the shoulder joint and its surrounding structures.

 

 

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses acoustic waves to stimulate healing in injured tissues. It is particularly effective for conditions like muscle strains – up to partial muscle tears, joint sprains, bone contusions and fractures, tendonitis, and bursitis, which are all common in shoulder injuries from winter sports. Shockwave therapy promotes blood flow, accelerates tissue repair by stimulating growth hormone, and helps reduce pain and inflammation.

 

ART is a hands-on soft tissue manipulation technique designed to break up adhesions and scar tissue that can form in injured muscles and tendons. Skiing and snowboarding can lead to overuse injuries, and ART can be highly beneficial in restoring proper function to the shoulder by releasing tension in the muscles and improving range of motion.

 

Dry needling involves inserting thin needles into trigger points or tight bands of muscles to alleviate pain and improve flexibility. This technique is effective in releasing tension and promoting blood flow, making it valuable for treating shoulder injuries related to winter sports. Dry needling can help reduce muscle spasms and enhance the effectiveness of other rehabilitative treatment modalities.

 

Corrective exercises play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process. We design personalized exercise programs to address muscle imbalances, enhance stability, and improve overall shoulder function. Strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint can provide better support and reduce the risk of future injuries.

 

Prevention Strategies

 

In addition to treatment, preventing shoulder injuries is equally important. Skiers and snowboarders can take the following precautions:

 

Proper Warm-Up: Always warm up before hitting the slopes. Engage in dynamic stretching and light aerobic exercise to prepare your muscles for the physical demands of skiing or snowboarding.

 

Technique Training: Invest time in learning and refining proper skiing or snowboarding techniques. This not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injuries caused by improper form.

 

Equipment Check: Ensure that your equipment, including bindings and protective gear, is in good condition and properly fitted. Ill-fitting equipment can contribute to accidents and injuries.

 

Gradual Progression: Avoid taking on slopes or maneuvers beyond your skill level. Gradually progress to more challenging terrain as your abilities improve.

 

While shoulder injuries are a common concern in winter sports, a combination of advanced therapies like shockwave therapy, active release technique, dry needling, and targeted corrective exercises can facilitate a speedy and effective recovery. Additionally, incorporating preventative measures into your skiing or snowboarding routine is essential for enjoying these thrilling activities while minimizing the risk of shoulder injuries. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment based on your specific condition.

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