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Sports with the Highest Risk of Shoulder Injury

Injuries to the shoulder often involve the soft tissue of the joint, including the tendons, ligaments, and muscles, rather than the bones located there. Often, shoulder injuries develop gradually with repetitive overhead movements or with constant swinging or throwing actions. Read on to learn which sports put you at the greatest risk of shoulder injury.


Tennis requires a lot from your shoulder. Swinging a racquet with force to hit the ball is repetitive, putting you at great risk for an injury known as a SLAP tear. This describes injury to the ring of cartilage that surrounds your shoulder’s socket — tissue known as the labrum.

You develop a SLAP tear after constant training. You lose power in your shoulder, and it feels as if it could pop out of the socket. You may experience pain when swinging the racquet overhead. Your range of motion decreases and you feel deep pain in your shoulder, but you can’t identify exactly where.

Baseball and softball

Baseball and softball pitchers are at increased risk of shoulder injury due to the repetitive throwing motion. Shoulder instability, in which the bone pops out of the socket partially or completely is a possibility. You may also experience the aforementioned SLAP tear or injury to your rotator cuff, a set of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint.


Given that swimming is a non-impact sport, it would seem to be a safer, less injury-prone sport. But the repetitive action of moving your arms overhead against the force of water puts your shoulders at risk of injury. Each stroke puts your shoulder through an extreme range of motion. Oftentimes, you experience mild pain that increases the longer you swim.

Common overuse injuries include rotator cuff issues, SLAP tears, and swimmer’s shoulder, or subacromial impingement, characterized by pain along the back of the shoulder.


Football can cause shoulder pain, especially to quarterbacks because of the repetitive motion of throwing the ball. Injuries caused by throwing include shoulder impingement, rotator cuff injuries, SLAP tears, and tendinitis. A tackle can also lead to shoulder injuries, including shoulder dislocation or separation.


The sport of volleyball puts your shoulders through a lot of repetitive and strenuous movements. Serving, spiking, and blocking stress the shoulder joint, leading to both overuse and acute injuries. SLAP tears often affect volleyball players, as does internal shoulder impingement.

Preventing shoulder injuries

If you play a high-risk sport, take steps to lessen your chances of injuring your shoulder. Always wear appropriate safety equipment. Do your best to perform swings, throws, strokes, and spikes with proper form, which can help prevent injury. Enlist in a strengthening program that helps all of the muscles of the shoulder, not just the ones that you use on a regular basis to perform your sport.

If you do experience shoulder pain, stop doing the movements that aggravate it and contact Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists. The sooner you address a shoulder injury, the better chance you have for a minimally invasive remedy and rehabilitation. Physical therapy, medications, rest, and, in extreme cases, surgery are all methods used to repair an injured shoulder.

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Ream and Run Shoulder Replacement Success...x2!

I enjoy sharing this story because it is a testament to patient's who are seeking a solution to shoulder arthritis who want to remain highly active. I am grateful for patients like Fred who give me the opportunity to improve their overall quality of life!