Simple Habits for Shoulder Health
We have some simple tips anyone can follow to keep shoulder muscles strong and shoulder joints flexible.
Quite often, you probably reach for an object on a high shelf, hold up a hair dryer at the perfect angle, scoop a toddler into the air, or swing a golf club without giving a thought to the shoulders that make these motions possible. Flexible shoulder joints contribute to your overall body strength and decrease the load that your bones, ligaments and joints have to bear.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball-like head of your humerus (long bone of your upper arm) is twice the size of the shallow shoulder socket into which it fits, making the joint mobile, but unstable. Its movement and stability relies on the four muscles that make up your rotator cuff. Rotator cuff muscles originate on your shoulder blade and insert, or connect, as a tendon on the humerus in your upper arm. Ligaments in your shoulder and the rotator cuff muscles provide shoulder stability by holding the ball portion of the joint in the deepest, widest area of the socket.
Some repetitive motions increase rotator cuff stress and may lead to injury. Actions that make your shoulders more prone to injury include the overhead-throwing motions found in sports including baseball, football, tennis, volleyball, and competitive swimming, and in professions including construction, hair styling, and painting.
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid placing extra stress on your shoulders:
- Pay attention to your posture. During sleep, lay either on your back or side.
- When you sit, keep your head over your shoulders and keep your shoulders back.
- Don’t carry a backpack or purse over just one shoulder.
- Avoid working with your arms above shoulder level for very long. When possible, use a foot stool or ladder to lessen the strain on your shoulders.
- Lift and carry objects close to your body. Try not to lift heavy loads with outstretched arms.
- Take regular breaks from any activity you must repeat over and over again.
- Keep your thumb up when you reach for something with your arm.
In addition to good habits, exercise to strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons of your shoulder joint benefits you two ways: conditioned muscles help reduce shoulder injury and improve shoulder performance.
Exercises to stretch your shoulder include:
- Stretching the back of your shoulder
- Hand-up-your-back stretch
- Wall stretches
Exercises to strengthen your shoulder include:
- Internal and external rotation exercises
- Wall push-ups
- Arm reaches
With a little attention to habits and exercise, your shoulders will thank you.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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Katelyn Bauer, PT, DPT
Listen to your body, if you experience pain and it continues to worsen with certain movements/activities, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Do not prolong going to see a doctor when injured, the longer you let an injury go, the longer it takes to get better.
Abby Bernstein, PA-C
“I grew up with physical activity being a big component of my life and I feel fortunate to work in a field where I can help others to stay active and maintain their independence.”
Catie Boyum, PT, MA
Watching patients succeed in recovery as the result of the education and tools received in PT is the intangible reward of my job. I am only the tour guide — the true worker is the patient.
Jillian Cunningham, PA-C
“I like staying active in my daily life with my family, and I want to help each patient do the same.”
Angela Voight, M.D.
“My goal is to help people return to the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible. I want patients to feel like they are well cared for, that their concerns are heard, and that we work together to find the best treatment plan.”
Phil Giesen, PT, MPT
The body is built for movement, not for being inactive. Be regularly active in something, whether it’s an athletic activity or going for walks or doing household projects — stay active!
Wendy Gohr, PTA
“Never stop moving.”
Mike Hildahl, PT, DPT
A healthy life is an active life, and it is my intention to keep those active individuals going without limitation — to help drive them back to their prior level of functioning or better.
Martha Hultgren, PT, MS
It’s an honor and a privilege to encourage, assist, and educate patients throughout the healing process so that they can return to an active, healthy lifestyle.
Caroline Stommes, DPT
It is exciting to find out what is most important to each patient then developing a plan to help them
return to those activities.
Sam Olson, PT, DPT, OCS
By utilizing various evidence-based manual therapy and exercise techniques, I strive to get patients back to their prior level of function and active lifestyles.
Peter Parten, M.D.
“Like most people, our family is always on the go between work, kids, school, and sports. There is never a good time to rest or recover from an injury. My challenge is to enable patients of all ages to return to sports, work, and life as soon as possible.”
Tim Richtsmeier, OTR/L
It’s a privilege to help people regain the functional use of their arm after an injury.
Amanda Thielen PT, MPT
Health and wellness are personal passions of mine. I strive to help patients to achieve their own personal health
and fitness goals.
Jerome Perra, M.D.
“My goal is always to return the patient to his or her highest level of function, and to individualize post-operative
and rehabilitation expectations.”
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