Tips on shoulder injuries

jedi old mate's picture
jedi old mate started the topic in Tuesday, 1 Nov 2022 at 1:07pm

Any tips on how to deal with shoulder injuries specific to surfing? Specifically to the motion of paddling causing stiffness and pain.
8-10 weeks ago or so tweaked my shoulder and after a week or so it went away. A couple of weeks back on that good run of easterly swell on the east coast i got a bit excited and ended up putting in some long hours in consecutive days and upon completion of the second day my right shoulder had pretty much become immobile and causing some pain and discomfort from pretty simple movements such as holding my shoulder up to hold steering wheel driving and chopping things in the kitchen. After about 2 weeks and a visit to the osteopath the pain for most movements had subsided i thought I’d try and surf again last week. Worked out pretty quickly that the specific movement of paddling was still too much and making it worse again.
Obviously nothing diagnosed or anything too serious but still keeping me out of the water.. This is my first bout with a shoulder injury and it feels like it’s the beginning of an ongoing head ache and injury.
Does anyone have any tips on exercises or similar experiences?
Much appreciated.

n!ck's picture
n!ck's picture
n!ck Wednesday, 2 Nov 2022 at 5:10pm

Sorry to hear about your shoulder jedi. Not fun.

I’ve been there before too with both surfing and skateboarding related shoulder injuries. I too experienced pain paddling whilst my shoulder joint was still recovering / unstable from the injuries.

Gentle stretching coupled with both Internal and External Rotation exercises with stretchy rubber bands (and later light hand weights as the shoulder joint recovers / becomes stable) is how I have rehabbed my shoulder injuries in the past. It is boring but it works.

Your osteopath or physio should be able to provide you with a personalised rehab plan and some exercises that best suit your particular injury but some of these exercises should definitely help you get back in the water / get back to doing things you love..

This website covers the potential exercises well:
Website - https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/rotator-cuff-and-shoulder-conditi...
Pdf - https://orthoinfo.org/globalassets/pdfs/2022-rotator-cuff-and-shoulder-c...

Start / aim small and gradually work up as your shoulder heals and becomes stronger. It takes time but you will get back to your best.

Hope that helps.

rorpeedo's picture
rorpeedo's picture
rorpeedo Wednesday, 2 Nov 2022 at 5:49pm

Hi Jedi,
I had an undiagnosed shoulder impingement that just wouldn’t go away, and would always flare up right in the front shoulder joint. After putting up with it for nearly two years a guy at work gave me some really simple back stabilising activities that I do two sets twice a day one morning and one night, and has fixed it.
You need 2 x 2kg weights.
Laying on you stomach head/spine in a straight line, essentially face in the ground.
You do a series of reverse fly’s starting with weights on the ground then
25 Reverse fly’s arms in a straight line
15 reverse fly’s arms at a 45 degree angle above head
15 reverse fly’s arms at a 45 degree angle down towards your hips
15 palms facing up raises with hands down by your side
15 rotator cuff raises laying on your side

I found after doing these when I was paddling all my back muscles started activating and actually working and my shoulders no longer took all the load

Hopefully that makes some sense

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq Wednesday, 2 Nov 2022 at 6:23pm

I would like to add something here to consider.

I have had only one injury that stubbornly hadn't healed properly. I booked with one Physio and completed the stretches and workouts prescribed over 3 months consistently. No improvement.

One month later I then booked with 3 different physio's over a course of one week.

The first Physio prescribed similar exercise's and stretches to the first guy.

Then the next physio (2 days later) prescribed me this one stretch and straight away, on the table I felt it react to the immediate area! I was very happy.

The third guy was very thorough, he did about 40 tests and gave me a similar stretch that helped and this combined with some different exercises eventually healed the muscle trauma.

I always try to triangulate any health advice, to help ensure a good result IMO.

Joshy2000's picture
Joshy2000's picture
Joshy2000 Thursday, 3 Nov 2022 at 8:05am

I tore my rotator cuff from skateboard fall.
Surgery was not recommended so rehabbed with stretchy bands doing internal and external rotations keeping elbow to side of body.
The side lying rotator cuff dumbbell fly/raise which I could initially only perform with tin of baked beans but worked up to 4kg.
I also hung daily from parallel bar, just static hangs for as long as you can around 5 mins for me.
It took me over 12 months until I was able to surf again and I’ve kept up these exercises along with back strengthening exercises and stretching. Feeling really fit again but there were some dark times during that 12 month rehab.

Joshy2000's picture
Joshy2000's picture
Joshy2000 Thursday, 3 Nov 2022 at 8:05am

I tore my rotator cuff from skateboard fall.
Surgery was not recommended so rehabbed with stretchy bands doing internal and external rotations keeping elbow to side of body.
The side lying rotator cuff dumbbell fly/raise which I could initially only perform with tin of baked beans but worked up to 4kg.
I also hung daily from parallel bar, just static hangs for as long as you can around 5 mins for me.
It took me over 12 months until I was able to surf again and I’ve kept up these exercises along with back strengthening exercises and stretching. Feeling really fit again but there were some dark times during that 12 month rehab.

jedi old mate's picture
jedi old mate's picture
jedi old mate Tuesday, 8 Nov 2022 at 4:20pm

Cheers gents. All the info is very much appreciated. I thought it was the beginning of the end and the decline of my paddling strength.
The past few nights I've stopped resting it and have been getting moving and trying some of the suggested rehab exercises as well as some from the Osteo.
Always good to hear experiences that are specific to dedicated surfers.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Wednesday, 9 Nov 2022 at 7:49am

Based on the quoted below, my guess is paddling is causing friction on the bursa and then inflammation. That's why it's so bad after consecutive days of long duration surfs.
Rehab the shit out of it on land through strengthening.
Start surfing in small doses and progressively increase as tolerated. (same goes for the rehab exercises, build up dosage, resistance, range of motion, reps etc as tolerated).
When paddling, think about how your shoulder and scapula are positioned on the good arm and then consciously copy that for the bad arm. Will probably feel unnatural at first. Your shoulder blade is probably protracting too far forward, so scapula stabilisation will be helpful. Kinesio taping gets a bad rap by some as been useless as the evidence isn't strong but can be really helpful to help your shoulder feel supported and give confidence in your shoulder as well as providing a postural cue.

"A couple of weeks back on that good run of easterly swell on the east coast i got a bit excited and ended up putting in some long hours in consecutive days and upon completion of the second day my right shoulder had pretty much become immobile and causing some pain and discomfort from pretty simple movements such as holding my shoulder up to hold steering wheel driving and chopping things in the kitchen. After about 2 weeks and a visit to the osteopath the pain for most movements had subsided i thought I’d try and surf again last week. Worked out pretty quickly that the specific movement of paddling was still too much and making it worse again."