Tips to Return to Your Sport After a Shoulder Injury

returning to tennis after a shoulder injury
By Fara Rosenzweig

A shoulder injury is one of the biggest wrenches thrown into an athlete’s training program.

It happens. Maybe you dislocated or strained your shoulder or tore your rotator cuff. Regardless of the injury, you’ve been sidelined for some time. But after a few months off and rehabbing the injury, it’s time to get back to your old routine—slowly.

The first rule to returning to any sort of sport or activity is to ease your way back to your sport. Depending on the severity of your injury, it can take you any where from 2 to 8 weeks to be back at your pre-injury level. Once your pain is gone, you should do shoulder strengthening exercises to prevent tendonitis or other injuries from recurring.

Tips to Keep Your Shoulder Healthy and Return Safely

  • Warm up well
  • Do range of motion exercises
  • Avoid overhead throwing movements
  • Do not play for a long time
  • Slowly increase your intensity
  • Avoid any exercises or movements that cause any pain at all.

You’ve got to strengthen your shoulder and one of the best ways is to use lightweights or resistance bands. Remember to warm up slowly with lighter weights and stretch the shoulder thoroughly. Avoid most overhead presses and pulling movements.

Strengthen Your Range of Motion

There are range-of-motion exercises that you can do daily to keep your shoulder joint loose while building strength. The exercises you should do work in all direction. You should work on range-of-motion movement about 2 to 3 times a day, or as many times as your doctor recommends.

Ice and Heat

You should use ice and heat after every workout to prevent swelling and inflammation and to soothe any discomfort.

Read More: Ice vs. Heat: Which One Wins?

Supportive Gear

Whether you’re in a contact sport or not, it’s important to protect your shoulder. Wearing a shoulder brace or sleeve can help you keep your shoulder aligned, compressed, and sturdy while participating in your sport.