Shoulder Pointer Syndrome is a common injury that occurs in contact sports including football, wrestling, karate and hockey – and also in non-contact sports such as swimming and gymnastics. The injury typically occurs when an athlete makes a hard hit using his or her shoulder. The direct blow on top of the shoulder drives it down and causes the neck to bend to the opposite side.
If you have been diagnosed with Shoulder Pointer Syndrome, Plano Therapy Center offers full rehabilitation care to get you back on the road to recovery.
What kind of rehab is needed for Shoulder Pointer Syndrome?
There are three types of Shoulder Pointer Syndrome. Types I and II, which involve a partial tear of the ligaments, are less severe and healing usually occurs in four to six weeks with ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and avoidance of movement (i.e. keeping your arm in a neutral position). In cases of severe pain, an arm sling may also be recommended to relieve stress on the shoulder.
Type III Shoulder Pointer Syndrome, which commonly involves a complete tear of the ligaments, may require surgical repair and a longer period of rehab. Without proper treatment and rehab, Type III Shoulder Pointer Syndrome may result in long term weakness and/or osteoarthritis.
Rehab if surgery is required
If you have been diagnosed with Type III Shoulder Pointer Syndrome and your physician has performed surgery, physical therapy is essential to ensure that the shoulder heals fully, correctly and fast. A few days after surgery, the patient will normally exercise their arm while ensuring that the shoulder is not moving. This includes flexing the wrist and the elbow and pendulums. Pendulums involve dangling one’s arm and using one’s body weight to swing the arm back and forth. At this stage, care should be taken to ensure that movement is not generated by the shoulder, as it can cause tearing.
As physical therapy progresses, the next stage is passive movement. Passive movement is meant to keep the shoulder supple and flexible during the healing process. During passive movement, the arm will be moved by a nurse or a machine.
At around the 5th or 6th week after surgery, the shoulder is sufficiently healed to allow it to move without a high risk of causing damage. This stage involves moving the shoulder joint in different angles gradually until near optimal range of motion is recovered. Strength training is also included in this phase. One typically has to support the shoulder initially until it becomes more supple and strong. At this stage, free weights and elastic bands are used for strength training.
At about 4 months, the patient is usually fully recovered and can do more strenuous strength training exercises such as push-ups in addition to participating in sports. One should, however, avoid contact sports until they are truly recovered.
The thing to keep in mind when undergoing physical therapy for any type of shoulder surgery is that patience and rest are as important as the physical therapy itself, if not more important. Trying to do too much too soon could be detrimental to one’s recovery progress.
Plano Therapy Center
Before embarking on any physical therapy, it’s always important to talk to a professional. At Plano Therapy Center, we focus on sports specific rehabilitation, degenerative conditions, pre and post-operative orthopedics, and workers compensation cases. Always striving to meet and exceed our patient’s goals, our experienced staff offers expert care and personal attention throughout the recovery process. With two convenient locations, in Plano and Allen, we look forward to serving you with a commitment to excellence second to none! Contact us today!