Shoulder Separation Recovery

Elite Goaltending Camp

Some of the on-ice action at the Elite Goaltending Camp in Saskatoon.

On my flight to Saskatoon via Calgary as I write this post.  Heading to Sasky to meet up with Gille Bouvier and help out at his Elite Goaltending Camp for a few days.  Always very cool to meet and work with up and coming goalies.

I splurged for the upgraded seat on this leg of the flight – a very well spent $45 – lots and lots and lots of leg room PLUS I scored and have an entire row to myself – I think this is payback for the flight home from the conference in Vegas last time – remember I had to sit next to the coke-head?

Anyway, enough of my travel tales, today I want to talk about shoulder separations which are a completely different animal than shoulder dislocations.

A dislocation occurs when the ball of the shoulder joint comes right out of the socket – OUCH!  A separation is more like a sprain of the shoulder, but is still very, very painful depending on the grade of the injury.

There are two types of shoulder separation – a separation at the acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) toward your shoulder and a separation of the sternoclavicular joint (SC joint) which is closer to your neck.  These are the joints at either end of the clavicle or collar bone.

I had an email from one of you last week asking about some thinks to do for an AC separation.  He was doing the basics and getting his range back which is perfect.  I put together a little video to help with some stage two exercises that can help once you have full pain-free range of motion.

Getting full painfree range of motion is important, resist the temptation in the early going to force your range of motion causing more pain – this is like pulling the scab off a cut repeatedly, you are going to slow your healing.

As you body is laying down scar tissue to repair the joint’s integrity, you are repeatedly disrupting that repair.  So take your time in the early going, give it time to heal.

These Will Help Build Some Stability and Stamina

After a shoulder separation you will have some weakness in the shoulder, because you have not been using it as you typically would so there will be some atrophy.  Your joint position receptors and stabilizers may also be a bit off, again because you have not been using the shoulder as you typically do and because you may have disrupted some of the joint position receptors when you injure your shoulder.

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds or to the onset of fatigue in the shoulder for the first two weeks.  The reason I want you to stop at the onset of fatigue during the early stages is to make sure you are retraining good movement patterns at the shoulder.  As you fatigue, your body will find new ways to attempt the desired movement which may include some shoulder elevation or shrugging which is not really a habit you want to develop.

After the first two weeks, you can work into fatigue as long as you are keeping your good shoulder mechnanics – this goes mainly for the exercise where you hold a shoulder position while doing your movement drills.  The Figure 8s and Taps are fine at 30 seconds each.

Another Drill to Help Build Your Confidence

I won’t say this exercise will help prevent a re-injury – these injuries are typically from force applied to the area such as body contact or a fall.  But I think this drill will help you get your confidence back as you get back on the ice.  Do not do this drill if you have shoulder instability or if you are a recurrent dislocator, I think you might be asking for trouble.

Enjoy! Happy Training


PS – I was thinking the other day how lucky I am to have such an awesome group of people who are my online tribe – whenever I meet you at a rink, Costco or the gym I am impressed with how nice you are.  Mike, the winner of the No 5 Hole contest is a perfect example – he lives in the States and knows I live in Canada, so he offered to pay the shipping for his prize – the No 5 Hole shirt.  Amazing isn’t it?  He won the contest, but still offered to help me out.  Amazing and this is exactly why I keep doing it day after day, when Paul looks at me and asks when I am getting off the computer, when internet gurus tell me I could earn 4x’s more money working in a different niche, I keep going because I find you awesome to work with, so thank you!

A special thank you to those of you who have purchased my products over the years, it is satisfying to help you achieve your goals and live your dreams.  It helps me live my dreams by helping athletes achieve and giving Paul and I the freedom to go on a holiday, go skiing for the weekend or even fixing the porch on the front of our house.  So again, thank you very much.  It only gets better from here 🙂

PPS – So much for the entire row to myself on this flight – a rather large man has now sat down – asked me if I was doing my homework and then sneezed three times without covering his nose and mouth – JOY!