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The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It is the most mobile joint in our body. It is surrounded by ligaments and a joint capsule which provide stability when we move our shoulder. There are several muscles that surround the shoulder joint which give us the ability to move our arm to perform activities of daily living and the strength/power to perform functional, work and recreational activities.
• Traumatic injury resulting in a fracture (broken bone)
• Degeneration of joint surfaces (arthritis)
• Injuring these structures can result in shoulder instability, commonly referred to as a subluxation or dislocation (traumatic).
• Some people have instability not from an injury, but because they have generalized ligament laxity (atraumatic).
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that have 3 functions:
• They compress and centre the ball of the shoulder in the socket during arm movement, providing stability to the shoulder joint.
• They give you the ability to lift your arm above shoulder height and rotate the shoulder to reach behind your back (to tuck in your shirt or do up your bra) or up behind your head (to comb or wash your hair or pull a shirt off overhead).
• They provide strength/power (along with other muscles) to use your arm at and above shoulder height. e.g. throwing a ball, lifting something heavy overhead
Injuries to the rotator cuff commonly seen include impingement, tendonitis, muscle tear from an injury, degenerative age-related tearing, bursitis or fatigue associated with repetitive work or sustained load in a prolonged position.
The majority of injuries in the workplace are muscular in origin (rotator cuff related pain syndrome) and may be due to a traumatic injury (e.g. fall), overuse or secondary to a pre-existing weakness or degeneration of the muscle tissue.
These are some things you can do in an active, manual
labour-type setting to reduce your risk of shoulder injury:
For students or people who work in a job that
involves sitting at a desk or computer: