Overhead Athletes Shoulder

Clinical Examination



Overuse injuries of the shoulder is a common problem in the overhead athlete (be they elite or amateur in level) and can be of various pathological origin.  Key to their successful management is a multidisciplinary assessment, looking at extrinsic and intrinsic influences; including biomechanical, nutritional and training factors.  Initial management should include rest with protected mobilisation, specialist physiotherapy input is vital. Early input from a shoulder specialist with experience in managing overhead athletes is beneficial for optimal and quicker return to sports. 
Return to sport is dependent on many factors; age, severity of the injury, the type of treatment administered and patient expectations. 

In this article we will discuss the basic biomechanics common to all overhead athletes, explore the causes of their pain, summarise the key points in the clinical examination and discuss the management of these complex and interesting patients.


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