Exercise is an important part of any health routine and has benefits not just physically, but mentally as well. During intense gym workouts, the shoulder is often one of the most common areas of injury. The shoulder joint is a ball-in-socket design, shaped like a golf tee, which gives a large range of motion. The socket is flat on top, making the ball of the upper arm bone moveable, but also which means that it can be easily dislocated.

When gym workouts that include weightlifting are part of your regular routine, improper technique or excessive weight can cause a great deal of wear and tear to the joint, muscles, and tendons of the shoulder. Below, are three of the most common shoulder injuries that happen in the gym.

Rotator Cuff Injury

By far, this is the most common form of injury in the shoulder. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that rest along the perimeter of the ball of the shoulder joint and allows the shoulder to move. This injury can happen as a result of repetitive movements like overhead lifting and cause the top of the shoulder blade to pinch at the muscles of the rotator cuff. The repetitive motion can lead to overload on the tendons, eventually developing tendonitis. If this pain is ignored, then it can eventually lead to a tear in the rotator cuff.

Weight Lifter Shoulder

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is at the topmost part of the shoulder blade and connects to the collarbone. For those who engage in exercises where the elbows are lowered behind the shoulders (benchpress, chest fly, etc), this motion can place additional stress on this joint and bone. Over time, this can cause small tears or fractures. If not given the time to heal properly, this injury can lead to painful inflammation of the joint.  This condition is often referred to as “weightlifter shoulder“.

 Dislocated Shoulder

A dislocated shoulder is a common occurrence in both gym members and athletes alike. It occurs when the ball at the top of the shoulder slips out of the socket. Once dislocated, the ball can then slip backward, forward or downward. Generally, this occurs after a strong hit to the shoulder in football or hockey; however, it can also happen if you rotate the shoulder too far.


High Mountain Orthopedics specializes in bone, joint and muscle injuries, including shoulder injuries. Dr. William Matarese and Dr. Tony Wanich have over 25 years of combined experienced treating orthopedic and sports injuries. Our practice uses a multi-disciplinary approach that includes physical therapy and activity modification. If surgery is necessary, our team utilizes the latest advancements in Minimally Invasive and Arthroscopic procedures to expedite the healing process. If you are suffering from a bone, joint or muscle injury – contact our offices today!

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