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What are The Shoulder Injuries in Female Athletes?

Posted On 25-03-2024

The world of sports has been scripting history that narrates power, passion and the impeccable capabilities of women over the past few years. From dominating the basketball court to conquering cricket, women athletes are showcasing their prowess like never before. However, amidst all the triumphs, lies a silent struggle that often goes unnoticed – shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries in female athletes are more than just a physical setback; they represent a multifaceted challenge that transcends the boundaries of the playing field.

The shoulder, a complex assembly of bones, muscles, and ligaments, is particularly susceptible to injuries in athletes due to the repetitive and high-impact nature of sports activities. Female athletes, in particular, face unique anatomical challenges that predispose them to shoulder injuries.

The inherent differences in bone structure, muscle mass, and hormonal fluctuations make them more vulnerable to certain types of injuries.

The common shoulder injuries in female athletes are:

Rotator Cuff Tears

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and tendons that keep your shoulder joint stable. Doing repetitive overhead movements, like throwing a ball, can lead to common shoulder problems like impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears, and bursitis.

Female athletes are also prone to shoulder dislocation and labral tears. This could be because they usually have less upper body strength and looser supporting tissues, making their shoulders less stable.

Doing physical therapy exercises can help make the muscles around your shoulder joint stronger and more flexible. For many people with rotator cuff issues, these exercises are all they need to feel better and manage their symptoms.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common reason for shoulder pain. It happens when tendons in the shoulder get squeezed between the bones. Doing activities where you lift your arm up a lot, like swimming or playing tennis, can make it more likely to occur. The treatment would involve taking ample rest and break from physical activity, a physical therapy , ice packs for the shoulder and pain relievers.

Glenohumeral instability

Glenohumeral instability happens when the shoulder can't keep the upper arm bone centered in the shoulder socket. It can be caused by a sudden injury that tears the ligaments around the shoulder or by having loose ligaments in general.

After a dislocation or partial dislocation, the shoulder might feel unstable in one direction, or if there's overall looseness, it can feel wobbly in many directions. People with this condition might have episodes where the shoulder partially slips out of place, causing damage. Female athletes are at a higher risk of shoulder dislocations or subluxations due to differences in shoulder joint laxity and muscle strength compared to males.

Resting is crucial for a few days to avoid making it worse. If the pain is severe, like after a big injury, a sling might be used to keep the shoulder still temporarily. Some people might also use a shoulder brace. Once the pain and swelling go down, one can start gentle exercises to improve movement. As the shoulder gets better, strengthening exercises can begin under the supervision of a physical therapist.


A SLAP tear happens when the fibrocartilage lining the shoulder socket (called the labrum) gets injured. It's called "SLAP" because it stands for "superior labrum anterior to posterior." This injury often comes from doing the same movement over and over, like throwing a ball or swinging a tennis racket. It can also happen from falling onto the shoulder. SLAP tears are common in people who dislocate their shoulders too.

Many people especially female athletes, with SLAP tears feel much better after resting for a good period and going to rehabilitation. Physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and makes it easier to control the joint.

Women are striding on glory today making remarkable achievements in the world of sports and while sweeping all the win, it’s extremely important for women to prioritize their shoulder health and longevity in their athletic pursuits. By taking the right preventative measures, let’s take women health a notch higher as well.

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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