Surfer's Shoulder and How To Treat It

December 3, 2018

 Stretch the pain away


As waxheads, we're subject to a wide range of risks directly related to surfing. 


Some of which can maim you, leaving permanent physical, emotional and spiritual scars (I'm looking at you Mr. Grey White Shark). And some that can be a downright annoyance, such as a muscle tear or even stitches.


Unfortunately, these dangers come with the territory and there's really not much you can do to avoid them. Well, except maybe exercise a little caution once in a while. But hey, we're surfers... caution is for paddle boarders and priests dang nammit!


Regardless, it's a fact of life that as we age, our once taught bodies transform into nothing more than frail bags of wrinkly skin holding our vital organs together.


This means injury, whether it be a stubbed toe on a block of driftwood or a perforated sack after an optimistic aerial attempt, becomes practically unavoidable.


Surfer's shoulder is but one affliction that some of us may experience sooner or later. Defined as a lack of strength in the muscles surrounding a shoulder's ball and socket joint. This weakness enables the ball to glide around the socket and not stay centered during range of motion.


The result is a high level of physical discomfort and pain that makes paddling a living nightmare. 


Fortunately for anyone experiencing surfer's shoulder, Dr. Aimee Perreira (MD University of Hawaii, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery), Dr. David Rovinsky (MD, FACS, FAAOS Bone and Joint Center, Kauai Medical Clinic Gregory) and F. Kolber MBA have published a paper (which can be accessed here) outlining treatment methods that include strength exercises and intensive stretching. 


The reason I write this article is that I'm currently undergoing self-imposed rehab for a broken collarbone. And not your standard chuck it in a sling and let it heal itself kinda break either.


No, this was a 200% separation of the clavicle that's taken two months to heal to a point that I can actually move my arm, with an estimated month or so to go before I'm even back in the water. Total bummer dude.


With the good doctors document by my side though, I've seen rapid improvement in the last two weeks and I can now bring my arm straight up at the front and the side, about level with my shoulder. Progress!


Of course, surfing is still a little way away, but if you're also suffering from a crook shoulder and have no idea what to do except winge to your missus and try to milk days off work, then perhaps you should give it a read today.



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