Before hitting the greens, tennis court, or swimming pools, consider these tips to help prevent shoulder injuries:
- Practice proper technique. Learn and practice the proper techniques for sports that are hard on the shoulders. For example, swimmers can help save their shoulders by placing their fingers or pinkies in the water first, not their thumbs, during the freestyle stroke.
- Ease into exercise. Warm up with light activity such as jogging in place or jumping rope for several minutes. Then stretch your shoulders and the other muscles you'll be using. Try this shoulder stretch: Lace your fingers together, and then push your arms over your head with your palms facing up. Hold 15 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times. Be certain to also stretch after you've finished exercising.
- Strengthen the shoulder area. Building the muscles in your wrists, arms, neck, and back helps protect your shoulders.
- When the muscles surrounding the shoulder are strong, there's less stress on the shoulder itself. Strengthening the shoulder muscles themselves also helps prevent injuries.
Most importantly: Do not ignore symptoms or play through a shoulder injury. Doing so can aggravate the condition and cause more problems. See a doctor if symptoms persist or if your pain is severe.