Case Study – Return to Sport after Lockdown

May 21, 2021

How a Mature Patient used Sports Therapy to treat Shoulder Pain

With the recent return to sports, more and more sport related injuries are making their way into clinic.


An active 68-year-old man came into clinic presenting with a pinching pain in the front of his shoulder when playing tennis and during his aerobic fitness classes. The pain remained for a few hours after exercise. The pain was also noticeable at night when lying on their painful side, or allowing the shoulder to drape over the body. There was minimal to no pain when waking but was aware of some stiffness which usually wore off by breakfast time.

Noticing the pain was getting easier but was intensifying after each tennis session, he booked into the clinic to see one of our Sports Therapists.


After the conduction of several shoulder specific tests including testing the strength of the surrounding muscles, our therapist was able to rule out joint pathologies and came to the conclusion of subacromial shoulder pain. This is caused by changes in the rotator cuff muscle complex leading to pain with movement especially movement that closes down the space where the rotator cuff tendons lie. These tendons may become painful due to age related changes, overuse or rapid acceleration in activity levels. Subjectively, the patient falls into 2 of the potential causes, age-related changes and the rapid return to sports after lock down.


During the initial assessment our therapist used deep tissue massage to release some of the tension felt around the surrounding area. The patient and therapist also worked together to create a rehab plan that worked with his busy schedule. This involved at home self-massage techniques as well as specific exercises to strengthen the musculature, including medial rotation of the shoulder (rotating his arm in), wall presses and shoulder abductions (arm out to the side and up).


In the following sessions our therapist delivered some joint mobilisations to reduce the stiffness and open up the sub-acromial space to allow for freer pain free movement. Only 6 sessions were needed for complete pain-free movement and a pain free return to tennis. We have arranged for a maintenance check in 6 weeks in order to keep the stiffness reduced and progress the rehab plan each time.

If you are suffering from a reoccurring injury or perhaps picked up a new injury with the return to sport, then we can help in our clinics in Stansted Park and Rowlands Castle. You can call 02394 350 270 to book an appointment or via our online physiotherapy and sports therapy service.

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