Skiing is a thrilling activity, but twists, jumps, and falls can sometimes lead to injuries, including rotator cuff injuries, which can cause significant shoulder pain and limit movement.

Understanding Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff comprises muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, stabilizing the upper arm bone (humerus) within the shoulder socket. Skiing falls or repetitive motions, such as using ski poles, can cause injuries in this area. Activities like tennis, baseball, and weightlifting can also contribute, and age can be a risk factor for developing this condition.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injuries can range from inflammation to tears, with symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Clicking or catching sensations
  • Weakness

The severity of pain may vary depending on movements or positions. Activities like reaching backward, upward, or lifting objects may exacerbate symptoms. In some cases, weakness may be present without significant pain, indicating a possible tear despite the absence of discomfort.

Exercises to Alleviate Pain

Certain exercises can help reduce the pain associated with rotator cuff injuries, complementing rehabilitation efforts:

  • Pendulum Exercise: Lean forward with one hand on a table for support. Let the other arm hang freely and gently swing it in forward, backward, and circular motions.
  • Shoulder Stretch: Keep shoulders relaxed while pulling one arm across the chest, pressing gently on the upper arm. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on each side.
  • Stick Stretch: Hold a stick horizontally behind your back with one hand and grasp the other end with the opposite hand. Slowly pull to stretch the shoulder without causing pain. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Resistance Band Rows: Securely attach a resistance band to a stable object. Hold the band with one hand and bend your elbow, pulling it straight back while keeping the arm close to your side. Repeat this for both arms.
  • Resistance Band External Rotation: Hold a resistance band with one hand, keeping the elbow bent and close to your side. Slowly bring the arm across your body against the band’s resistance. Repeat this for both arms.

These exercises, when performed consistently and correctly, can aid in pain relief and facilitate recovery from a rotator cuff injury. For personalized treatment and guidance, consult with a specialist at Pacific Crest Orthopedics.