Whether it’s sailing, motoring or wakeboarding, all that extra activity can cause the odd niggly injury. One that we as Physiotherapists see a lot of at this time of year is tendon problems of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder, or impingement.
The shoulder joint has a wide range of movement and therefore relies heavily on the ligaments and muscles for stability. The rotator cuff is a group of small muscles which keep the ball of the shoulder in the socket, whilst the larger muscles move the arm. The space in which these tendons sit is very small and so if they become inflamed they can become caught, or impinged.
What causes them to be inflamed?
It can often be as simple as over using the shoulder in a particular position, or it can be one sudden action, such as throwing a ball or falling awkwardly when wakeboarding. Unfortunately, age is also a factor as we know that as we get older the tendons start to wear and are therefore more susceptible to sudden or repetitive type injury. And finally posture can also play a large part, as a more flexed back posture changes the shoulder biomechanics which can make the small space the tendons sit even smaller and lead to irritation.
How do you treat impingement?
Firstly it’s all about addressing the underlying cause, whether that’s posture or changing a particular activity, whilst building strength is vital to restore biomechanics and load the affected tendon to stimulate the healing process. We also use hands on treatment to stretch the shoulder and release the overactive muscles in the area, while Kinesio taping promotes good posture and supports the affected tendon.