When you hear a pop?


by Harry Brownlow, September 2017

The rugby season kicks off this month. As young exuberants and old warriors meet in the field there will be casualties. Rugby has the highest injury rate of any sport in the world. Shoulders are second only to knees on the casualty list.

Rugby has the highest injury rate of any sport in the world

Almost half the injuries relate to damage to the ligaments (labrum) of the shoulder but these are not inevitably associated with a shoulder dislocation. About one third of the injuries relate to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and only a few relate to rotator cuff tears. All positions on the field are equally susceptible.


The best way to minimise the risk of injury is to ensure maximum physical and mental preparedness. Carrying a shoulder injury into early season is bringing a high risk of further trouble. Make sure you are fit, that your shoulders are strong and of course that you ensure good tackling technique. Taping or shoulder pads or braces may allow you to limp through the end of the season but you will be very lucky to make it to Christmas if you are already reliant on props!

If it felt like your shoulder might have popped out then it definitely did!

If you sustain an injury get it properly checked out early by a physio or the team doctor. If it felt like you shoulder might have popped out then it definitely did! It should be properly investigated with an MRI and a review with a specialist. If you have tenderness over the top of the shoulder then it is likely to be an AC joint injury. Many of these will settle over a few weeks without specialist treatment. If it doesn’t settle you will need an xray and review with a specialist. Some end up needing a cortisone injection and less commonly an operation. If you have lost significant strength and it is very painful then you too need an ultrasound scan or MRI to exclude a rotator cuff injury.

Harry can usually see you within a week.

At Circle Hospital we have onsite xray, ultrasound and MRI so that we can give you a definitive diagnosis and management plan really quickly.