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Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury: What You Need to Know

Returning to Sports After a Shoulder Injury: What You Need to Know

If you’re bananas for baseball, totally into tennis, or a serious swimmer, you’re more likely to suffer a shoulder injury that can leave you benched. 

It’s important to seek treatment — even if you think your injury is nothing to worry about — so you can safely get back to enjoying being in the pool or on the field again ASAP.

Dr. Ashish Rawal has great expertise in treating many types of shoulder injuries, from dislocations to rotator cuff tears.

Aside from completing a fellowship in sports medicine, he hones his skills regularly as the head physician for the Madison Capitols hockey team. Dr. Rawal has also treated many college athletes, as well as members of the Indianapolis Colts, so he’s seen his share of shoulder injuries.

The care you receive from all of us at OrthoTeam Clinic will make you certain you’re in the best hands. We provide the most advanced care and never make you feel like “just a number.” Instead, you’re our #1 priority. 

Common shoulder injuries and their treatment

Dr. Rawal provides extraordinary care to patients with shoulder injuries, whether they’re dedicated athletes or weekend warriors:

Athlete shoulder injuries are typically the result of repetitive movements — think pitching a baseball over and over — and intensive training. The resultant pain and swelling can severely limit your mobility — such that you may not be able to retrieve a glass from a high cupboard, let alone swim some laps. 

Dr. Rawal carefully listens to how your shoulder injury occurred, your history of pain, and your concerns. He also evaluates your shoulder and may take images to get a clearer idea of what’s going on within your shoulder.

Dr. Rawal customizes your treatment plan, which often includes RICE treatment: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. 

Other treatment approaches include: 

If Dr. Rawal deems surgery to be the best solution, rest assured that his experience with minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy and shoulder arthroplasty (replacement) is comprehensive. 

Minimally invasive procedures, which require only a few small incisions and special surgical tools, have been shown to cause less pain, bleeding, and scarring, and recovery is speedier. 

WIth arthroscopy, Dr. Rawal uses an arthroscope, a flexible, narrow tool with a small camera on one end of it. This allows Dr. Rawal to see the area he’s working on clearly. 

The procedure is far less traumatic to your body and Dr. Rawal uses it to repair your rotator cuff, correct shoulder instability and impingement, and perform superior capsular reconstruction or subacromial balloon spacer when you have significant, irreparable damage to your rotator cuff. 

Shoulder arthroplasty is done in different ways, and Dr. Rawal makes his decision on what technique is best for you based on your unique needs and circumstances. 

It’s critical to get treatment for shoulder injuries, because not doing so can set you up for further injury that may not be easy to recover from. 

Getting the right treatment brings you great relief, but be sure to listen to Dr. Rawal’s recommendations about reintroducing physical activity into your routine.

Getting back into the swing of sports, post-injury or post-surgery

Even though you have to spend time recovering from your shoulder injury or surgery, don’t get discouraged — you will enjoy your favorite sport again! Dr. Rawal’s goal is to restore your full range of movement and free you from pain. 

The first thing you did right that will make it easier to play sports again is seeking out a physician with specific expertise in sports injuries. Just as Dr. Rawal created a treatment plan for you, he will formulate a detailed recovery plan too, advising you on what movements you should try to perform, when you should attempt them, and more.

It’s important to heed his advice, because getting back in the game prematurely could set you back even further. In this case, slow and steady wins the race — you can still exercise, but be very careful about it. Dr. Rawal talks to you about specific activities you can engage in that will fulfill your desire and need for exercise, yet not put you at risk for further injury. 

When Dr. Rawal gives you the OK to play sports again, do so with care and intention, and never continue with any movement that causes you pain. The OrthoTeam Clinic staff is always here to consult with and monitor your progress while you recover and after you start becoming more active. 

Call our Madison or Stoughton, Wisconsin, office to schedule a shoulder consultation, or reach out to us online.

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