The 2019 Rugby World Cup begins today, starting with hosts Japan playing Russia in the nation’s capital, Tokyo. The tournament is set to be one for the ages, with no clear favourites and a wealth of exciting players to watch. England head to Japan with high hopes of replicating their 2003 World Cup glory, with the indispensable Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi carrying the nation’s hopes on their shoulders.
Rugby Union is the UK’s second most popular sport, with approximately 550,000 registered players. Due to the ferocious nature of the sport, knocks and bumps are commonplace, however according to studies, 28.4% of rugby players will suffer at least one significant injury over the course of a season. Shoulder issues comprise 20% of all rugby injuries, with only knee injuries being more commonplace. 35% of all shoulder injuries are recurrences, often due to a lack of correct treatment following the initial injury.
The shoulder girdle is composed of a series of complex bones and joints linked by ligaments, tendons and muscles to the breastbone (sternum), neck (cervical spine) and chest (thorax). In rugby players this inherently unstable situation is stabilised significantly by well developed surrounding musculature; thirteen muscles make up the shoulder joint and this biomechanical protection provides significant stability and protection to the vulnerable joint. However as noted, the aggressive nature of the game, and the ever increasing size and speed of both professional and amateur players means that shoulder injuries remain likely.
In cases where the severity of the injury is relatively low, physiotherapy and other non-invasive methods can be employed in order to ensure optimal recovery. However, the majority of players sustaining a serious ‘Rugby Shoulder’ injury are unable to return to their pre-injury level of play without surgery. Prior to any surgery, detailed physical examinations and selective imaging such as x-rays, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans may be utilised in order to establish a precise diagnosis, although in some complex conditions arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) may be necessary to define the underlying cause.
If you’re a rugby player who’s been carrying a shoulder niggle since last year, or if it’s a new injury that you’ve picked up during pre season or an early season game, book an appointment today within The Shoulder Unit in order to begin your recovery process. Consultants within The Shoulder Unit are a highly skilled multidisciplinary team. The Unit is led by five of the UK’s top orthopaedic upper limb surgeons, supported by world class operating theatres, physiotherapy and imaging services. Our aim is to be the leading facility available for patients looking for treatment for all shoulder problems.
Book an appointment today at The Shoulder Unit and have confidence in our national and international reputation for exemplary treatment of all shoulder issues.