Q. Last week I was skiing and fell. I landed on my left shoulder and hit it hard. I was able to ski down the mountain but it really hurt. I went to the emergency room and had X-rays taken, and was told it was just a sprain. They gave me a sling and said I should be better in a few days. It has been two weeks and I still have a lot of pain and cannot raise my hand over my head . How long till my shoulder is back to normal?
A. There are a tremendous number of skiers from South Florida and every Monday morning between Thanksgiving and Easter, I see a couple new injuries in my office. After knee injuries, shoulder injuries are the most common from skiing and snow boarding. These usually occur when a person falls directly on the shoulder or on an outstretched arm.
The most common shoulder injuries are dislocations (shoulder pops out of joint) and rotator cuff tears. The rotator cuff is a tendon made up from four muscles that attach to the ball part of the shoulder. It allows you to lift and rotate your arm. When injured, a rotator cuff tear can be very painful and result in weakness when trying to raise your arm. X-rays are usually negative and an MRI is often necessary to establish the diagnosis.
I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon as quickly as possible.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net