top of page
  • Retrain Health

Surfer’s Shoulder

Photo: Andrew Maccoll


As ex-cyclone Uesi makes its way down the eastern coast, Byron Bay, and surrounds, are expecting to see some big swells headed their way, with estimates predicting waves of up to 3.5 meters.

While the surfers rejoice, we thought we would take the opportunity to touch base on one of the most common surf-related areas of injury we see present to our clinic.

Used in all aspects of surfing, the shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body. However, it’s mobility can prove a vulnerability to the much loved pastime.

Shoulder Anatomy 101

The shoulder is a “ball and socket” joint (think golf ball on a tee). This provides us with amazing mobility, at the cost of the joint's stability.

When we delve a little deeper beyond the “ball and socket” joint, we find the rotator cuff, supporting the shoulder complex and shoulder blade (scapular) at the back of the shoulder.

The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and the Subscapularis. Each of these muscles performs a different function, which is required to keep the shoulder solid and stable through the paddling motion.

The rotator cuff serves to maintain not only the stability of the shoulder, but additionally the space for the tendons, vessels and ligaments, which pass around the shoulder complex.

Problems can arise when the shoulder and rotator cuff become overworked, weak or undergo direct trauma (think hitting a sandbank or getting dumped by a wave), which can manifest in the form of pain and restriction.


When we look at the action of paddling, it involves a lot of reaching and internal rotation of the shoulder. The repetition, plus potentially unpredictable conditions can lead to pain and restriction.

Manual therapy (by one of our fantastic osteopaths or remedial massage therapists) can help to relieve any positional stress, help to relax those hardworking internal rotating paddling muscles (think pecs, front deltoids, subscapularis and lats) and provide strategies' to help strengthen the shoulder complex and provide long term support for your body.


Retrain Health is based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. From our Byron Bay and Ballina clinics, our team provides a range of quality healthcare services and products.

Retrain Health offers osteopathy, remedial massage and strength and conditioning sessions with qualified practitioners.

If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an appointment, please contact the clinic by phone (02) 6680 7447, send us an email or click here to book an appointment online.

55 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page