Today, we’ll be starting a mini-series that covers shoulder injuries that are common in racquet sport athletes. Whether you’re a recreational squash player or a national level badminton player, these conditions can impede your on-court performance as well as your daily activities.
Over the next few weeks, we will be providing you with the knowledge for early detection of injuries and dysfunction, tools to prevent injury and/or optimize recovery, and guidance for seeking out the most appropriate healthcare professional if necessary.
We’ll begin by tackling the anatomy of the shoulder. I know. Bear with me.
The shoulder is made up of 3 bones: 1) The Humerus - the large bone in your upper arm, 2) The Clavicle - otherwise known as your collarbone, and 3) The Scapula - the shoulder blade. These 3 bones make up the 1) the glenohumeral joint (ball and socket) and 2) the acromioclavicular joint. They are suspended to the axial skeleton by the 3) sternoclavicular joint and synchronize with the 4) scapulothoracic joint to perform normal shoulder movements. Numerous ligaments (connective tissue which connects bone to bone) and muscles (contractile tissue) provide the shoulder complex with stability and the latter allows for movement to occur.
By now, you may have heard of the notorious rotator cuff. If you are like us and geek out on the human body, you can name them off by heart. If not, what a great opportunity to learn more! This group of 4 muscles (supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus and teres minor) plays an integral role in dynamically stabilizing the humerus (ball) in the glenoid of the scapula (socket). On top of centering the “ball” in the “socket”, the supraspinatus abducts or helps to lift the arm upwards, the subscapularis internally rotates the humerus or turns it inwards, and the infraspinatus/teres minor externally rotates the humerus or turns it outwards.
If you have been struggling with a shoulder injury or want to learn more, give us a call.
William Trinh, Physiotherapist
Gilroy, A. M. et al (2008). Shoulder & Arm, Atlas of Anatomy (pp. 252-278). New York, New York: Thieme Medical Publishers Inc.