Rider shoulder pain is usually due to a long ride. It is more common in female riders because of a lesser upper body isometric strength than male riders. The most obvious culprit is a lack of combined strength in the biceps and deltoid muscles, which hold the arm and forearm in correct position to use the reins. Overlooked are the muscles of the rotator cuff, which hold the arm up in the socket joint of the shoulder against gravity. Isometric exercises can help, and can be done through a trainer’s assistance and also by following strengthening articles on the internet. Female riders often complicate this by also suffering from subdeltoid bursitis, which restricts shoulder range of motion. This is easily diagnosed and can be treated by topical heat to the shoulder, range of motion exercises, and steroid injections in severe cases.
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