Last week several states announced that they will gradually start reducing the physical and social distancing measures currently in place. That means that there’s the possibility of return to fitness and sport activities. No one has a playbook on exactly how to do this, so you’ll likely find many different state and local regulations on how this will be done.
We should all be aware though that this won’t be like flipping a light switch and turn everything back on the way it was before the virus restrictions. No, much more likely are modified restrictions on physical distancing and strong attention to hygiene.
How fast gyms reopen and team practices resume will be complicated, but for everyone who’s been going a bit bonkers there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve written recently about shoulder dislocation, a serious condition in which the ball portion of the shoulder (humerus) becomes completely dislodged from the socket. This week we’ll discuss a shoulder separation, another common shoulder injury. But first let’s clear up some terminology to avoid confusion.
A separated shoulder refers to an injury to the ligaments of the acromioclavicular joint (commonly known as the AC joint), which is the joint between the end of your collarbone and the upper part of your shoulder blade. It’s located near the point of the shoulder.
In today’s article I’d like to provide some general guidelines about return to play after surgery for a shoulder dislocation. Your individual situation will be unique, based upon multiple factors so for specific guidelines you’ll need to discuss this carefully with your orthopedic surgeon. It’s also important to note that surgeons will have considerable variability in their personal preferences for return to play.
Here are the targets I will typically aim for:
Noncontact overhead sports, full swing golf, racket sports: four months
Pitcher throwing from the mound: six months
Full contact and collision sports: 6 to 9 months
Does your brain think you’re ready to return to sports after your ACL surgery?
Readiness for return to sports activity after ACL surgery depends on many factors. We like to see evidence from our physical exam that the graft is properly healed, motion is back to normal, and strength is nearly normal. My partners at Stanford and I also place a lot of emphasis on normalized landing mechanics and other movement-based measurements. And another area we like to consider is whether the athlete herself/himself feels ready to return to sports. It turns out the psychological readiness is a bigger factor than we’ve realized.