It is time to get outside and enjoy summer activities, but in a safe manor.
As we enter the post-pandemic summer of 2021, we are all ready to start enjoying some traditional outdoor summer activities -- like boating, fishing, waterskiing and swimming – with family and friends. The experts at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine certainly want to encourage everyone to get outside and to take part in all of those activities but to do so safely.
First, everyone should learn to swim. Doing so is critical to summer safety. Reach out to your local community pool or the Red Cross to find and sign up for lessons. It’s never too late to learn.
Secondly, take appropriate safety precautions whenever you’ll be outdoors. Wear a lifejacket when on a boat. Use SPF sunscreen when at the pool or outdoors playing a sport or watching from the bleachers. And when you are exercising, be sure to stretch properly before you throw that softball or grab the tow rope. Remember: you may remember how to do that skill, but your body has been resting for a long time! Help it get back into “game day” shape before expecting it to deliver at that level.
“Preventing an injury is always better that having to treat one,” said Dr. Robert Rolf from Beacon. So stretching properly before you jump into the water may just be the best-ever beginning to this post-pandemic summer. Swimming laps is a great form of exercise, but properly using those muscles after so long a rest is important. For instance, because the shoulder is so versatile, allowing you to position your arms and hands basically anywhere, that means a shoulder is actually one of the easiest body parts to injure. One common summer injury you should hope to avoid is a torn labrum. That is what experts call shoulder “instability” or “looseness.”
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and the shoulder girdle is responsible for keeping the shoulder in place, using a round rim of fibrocartilage called the labrum and several ligaments. Envision a golf tee. The labrum has the same effect on the shoulder as the rounded lip of that tee has on a golf ball. Basically, the labrum helps keep the shoulder from slipping out of its joint. The surrounding ligaments also help keep the shoulder in joint. So doing your best to strengthen the labrum and ligaments will help the shoulder work as intended.
“Through injury or wear, the labrum may be damaged or torn,” said Dr. Rolf. “Those tears increase the risk for shoulder looseness and dislocation.” Whether from sudden dislocation (falling on an outstretched arm) or repetitive strain (overuse), that torn labrum is simply too weak to keep the shoulder in the socket, thus causing the “looseness” sensation and actual instability.
If you feel that sensation (whether in your shoulder, elbow or knee), it is best to see a physician immediately. A physical examination, an x-ray or an MRI may be needed. It may also require a minimally invasive procedure call arthroscopy (sometimes called “arthroscopic surgery”). “Whether you’re a competitive athlete or someone who just took an odd fall,” continued Dr. Rolf, “seeing a sports medicine physician makes sense for this type of injury. This is the kind of diagnosis, procedure and therapy we provide every day.”
If you or someone you love is experiencing a “loose shoulder” or pain, you can schedule a diagnostic appointment at Beacon West, Lawrenceburg and Batesville, or come to one of their Saturday morning injury clinics, or urgent care at Erlanger and Summit Woods.
Go to www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 for an appointment. All 13 Beacon locations are seeing patients. Striving to ensure patient and staff health, Beacon offers Telehealth Video Visits and when seeing patients in person, they are following all state safety guidelines.