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Shoulder Injury Statistics

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. The cost of such versatility is an increased risk of injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), “shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities such washing walls, hanging curtains, and gardening.” Negative effects from a shoulder injury can range from a significant reduction in playing time to lifelong shoulder instability or shoulder degeneration over time.

AAOS also disclosed that:

  • In 2006, approximately 7.5 million people went to the doctor’s office for a shoulder problem, including shoulder and upper arm sprains and strains.
  • More than 4.1 million of these visits were for rotator cuff problems.

Shoulder injuries are normally related to sports among young athletes. According to Science Daily:

  • Shoulder injury accounts for 8 percent of all injuries sustained by high school athletes, shoulder injuries were relatively common in predominately male sports such as baseball (18 percent of all injuries), wrestling (18 percent) and football (12 percent).
  • Boys experienced higher shoulder injury rates than girls, particularly in soccer and baseball/softball.
  • Player-to-player contact was associated with nearly 60 percent of high school athletes’ shoulder injuries from 2005 through 2007.
  • The most common shoulder injuries included sprains and strains (37 percent), dislocations and separations (24 percent), contusions (12 percent) and fractures (7 percent).
  • Surgery was required for 6 percent of shoulder injuries. Dislocations and separations accounted for more than half of all shoulder surgeries.

A study on sports related shoulder injuries also reported that:

  • In boys’ and girls’ basketball, the most common activities leading to shoulder injury were defending (20.9% and 37.8%, respectively) and rebounding (16.2% and 40.9%, respectively).
  • In wrestling, takedowns (32.4%), near falls (15.8%), and sparring (14.1%) caused the majority of shoulder injuries.
  • In baseball and softball, most shoulder injuries resulted from throwing (excluding pitching) (24.3% and 50.2%, respectively), pitching (32.6% and 12.5%, respectively), and fielding (25.2% and 9.2%, respectively).
  • Common shoulder injury diagnoses included sprains/strains (39.6%), dislocations/separations (23.7%), contusions (11.5%), and fractures (6.6%)
  • Other diagnoses included tendinitis (3.5%), nerve injuries (2.5%), inflammation (2.8%), and torn cartilage (1.9%).
  • Most shoulder injuries were new (85.2%), with 14.8% being recurrent injuries. Recurrent shoulder injuries were most common in boys’ basketball (27.0%), baseball (22.0%), girls’ basketball (18.6%), and 5.67), while girls sustained a higher proportion of dislocations/separations.

Shoulder injuries among workers are considered costly. According to Sound Ergonomics, medical bills for the average shoulder injury (excluding surgery) are $20,000 per year. Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicated in a 2011 report that the most severe musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) occurred to the shoulder, requiring a average of 21 days for the worker to return to work, but accounted for only 13 percent of the MSDs. With snow activities being very popular in Utah, these types of activity can also be related to shoulder injuries. In 2009, it was reported that shoulder injuries account for 4 to 11% of all alpine skiing injuries and 22 to 41% of upper-extremity injuries. During snowboarding, shoulder injuries account for 8 to 16% of all injuries and 20 to 34% of upper-extremity injuries. Falls are the most common way to attain a shoulder injury, in addition to pole planting during skiing and aerial maneuvers during snowboarding. Common shoulder injuries during skiing and snowboarding are rotator cuff strains, glenohumeral dislocations, acromioclavicular separations and clavicle fractures. Christensen & Hymas reminds all sports enthusiasts and workers to obey safety measures to avoid shoulder injuries. Play and work safely. To read more about shoulder injuries, visit our “Shoulder Injury” article.

Image “AC Separation XRAY” copyright by Root4(one) and English Wikipedia.

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