Fall is in the air and football season is officially here. In locker rooms across the country, athletes are donning their uniforms and heading out to the field. From NFL superstars to college hopefuls, to high school athletes and even younger, football players nationwide are getting ready to train hard and play hard while their fans cheer them on. But along with tailgate parties and chilly nights in the grandstand, football season brings with it something else: a lot of sports injuries.
No matter how you tackle it, football is a rough sport. And while protective gear does reduce the number of injuries a player is likely to suffer, the high-contact nature of the sport makes some injuries inevitable. Football shoulder injuries are particularly common and, surprisingly, the greater the ability of the player, the more likely they become—as he runs faster, hits harder, and takes more risks, he becomes ever more susceptible to shoulder injuries.
What are the most common types of football shoulder injuries?
There are different types of football shoulder injuries and some positions are more prone to certain injuries than others. For example, quarterbacks—being the most protected player on the team—are more prone to rotator cuff injuries, while running backs are more likely to suffer shoulder dislocations or separations. Sprains and strains are one of the most common types of injury, but they are far from the only possibility. Here’s a list of some of the most common football shoulder injuries.
Shoulder dislocation – A dislocated shoulder occurs when the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) is pushed out of its socket. This usually occurs as a result of either high-velocity contact or falling on an outstretched arm.
Shoulder separation – This is technically a severe sprain of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint—the joint between the collarbone and the top of the shoulder blade. Like a dislocation, this usually occurs as the result of a fall or a direct hit to the shoulder. The ligaments connecting the two bones are stretched or torn, and the collarbone may even dislocate in severe cases.
Shoulder instability – This is the tendency of the humerus to repeatedly dislocate or partially dislocate. It is more common in athletes who have had a previous dislocation.
Rotator cuff injury – This is an injury to the muscles or tendons that support and mobilize the shoulder.
Shoulder sprains and strains – These happen when muscles or connective tissue is stretched or torn. Sprains are injured connective tissue, while strains are injured muscles.
Shoulder fractures – While not as common as other injuries, fractures do happen. The shoulder is made up of three bones—the humerus (upper arm bone), clavicle (collar bone), and scapula (shoulder blade), and any of these bones can sustain a fracture. Fractures of the clavicle and upper humerus are most common.
What are the main causes of football shoulder injuries?
Football shoulder injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. They most commonly occur due to player-to-player contact during a game, but they can also be the result of falls. Training can cause injuries too, particularly sprains and strains. Overuse injuries are also a possibility.
Get Treatment for Football Shoulder Injuries in NYC
The type of treatment a football shoulder injury requires depends on the type of injury in question and its severity. Common treatments range from rest and ice for less serious injuries, to physical therapy or even surgery in severe cases.
Dr. Mendoza specializes in treating sports-related shoulder injuries and has treated athletes of all ages and levels, including former NFL player Joe Klecko. So if you’ve suffered a football shoulder injury, contact our office today and find out about your treatment options. Dr. Mendoza can help you get off the bench and back in the game.