Enquire Now 020 3051 1111

Shoulder Problems in the Gym

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

Most sporting or recreational activities can result in painful or injured shoulders. Enthusiasts amaze me at how many ways injuries can occur. These shrines of ‘me-time’ can, however, be very useful if there is a debilitating shoulder problem and can become a very useful tool to recover and rehabilitate. So, all is not lost, and the membership fees are justified!

The injuries I see are two varieties. Gradual and sudden:

  • The first is pain and weakness that develop gradually, built up and spill over into everyday life. Eventually, the symptoms become so annoying that not only do they make the gym an uncomfortable place to be, but patients get to the point of (oh dear) seeking medical advice; i.e. me!
  • The second type of injury is more dramatic. It’s the sudden and often painful collapse during an ambitious set. Ouch! And Help!

For both these situations, help is at hand. But this does require getting some experts to look at you and to talk to each other. This is not always easy. Talking with your gym mates is not always the best action.

My advice is to speak first to the trainer who probably knows you best:

  • Take a break from the upper limb routines
  • Rest with analgesics for a week or two.
  • If things start improving, then slowly(very) introduce only ‘below-shoulder’ work. (Arm ALWAYS below the horizontal).
  • Then build up under supervision.

If you stay in trouble after a week or two – get help beyond the gym.

Its best then to go large and get advice from professionals with shoulder specific knowledge and who are ‘multidisciplinary’. This means teamwork, physiotherapy, a doctor with shoulder knowledge and access to scans which can help with the conundrum of working out what’s wrong then fixing it so you can get back to the gym and to enjoying life.

In the body workshop world of sports medicine/physio specialist/shoulder surgeons, you need to find the networks that talk to each other and can come together around your specific problem. It’s easy to get lost in this world. I suggest the first step is to ask about a reputable physio with a special interest in shoulders and see them. Importantly, ask about who they have on favourite ‘fast- dial’ to help with scans, assessment and discussions about repair – if needed.

The path to improvement is fastest in a big group huddle, rather sequential queuing and going over the same ground again and again. So, get to see who is recommended early, and decisions about the repair job can be made immediate and be more effective for your recovery.

Things like these sound dramatic but are often repairable with rehab or, if surgery is needed, done arthroscopically with mere modifications to subsequent gym work.

The bits that break are muscles (pec tear) tendons of the cuff can be injured, dislocations and cartilage tears. Sounds frightening but honestly repairable.
Tendon pinching (impingement and bursitis) are common and often solved by changes to technique or limited use of steroid injections.

Find a good network to help you rather than your mate. Most physios and shoulder surgeons operate as group decision makers with your problem in the middle. This way, things get sorted faster and effectively.

Mr Dan Rossouw

Mr Rossouw has a keen interest in shoulder surgery and the management of shoulder conditions, including rotator cuff injuries, shoulder instability and shoulder dislocations. He has undertaken extensive research on rotator cuff repair and shoulder arthroscopy. He is an enthusiastic and highly regarded trainer amongst his colleagues. Mr Rossouw is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital and has joined the Orthopaedic faculty of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Feel Assured

Over 350

5 Star Reviews


Covid Cases

Over 120,000

Patients Treated

Total Orthopaedics are committed to holistic and patient-focused care.

Book Consultation