13 Lessons

The shoulder is one of the less common locations for injuries to football players. While shoulder problems represent less than 3% of all injuries, their impact on a player’s career can be very significant. As a result, these injuries are well known and widely publicised.

Common sporting injuries of the shoulder include dislocations and labral pathology, acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) injuries, rotator cuff injuries, biceps injuries, and fractures. In very general terms, dislocations and ACJ injuries are more common in contact sports such as rugby and wrestling, while rotator cuff tears and biceps lesions are common in sports involving explosive heavy weight-lifting. Fractures around the shoulder are seen in sports involving crashes and falls from heights. All of these injuries can, however, occur in football.

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this topic you should:

  • understand the different types of shoulder injuries which commonly present in football players;
  • be able to distinguish between the various conditions based on history-taking and clinical examination;
  • be able to order and interpret the various diagnostic tests used to diagnose shoulder pathology;
  • be able to initiate a rehabilitation programme to treat football players with shoulder pain;
  • understand the indications for referral to specialist clinicians, including the role of surgery to treat common shoulder conditions;
  • have an awareness of injury prevention programmes relating to the shoulder (and the upper limbs in general).


  • Read the relevant section in the FIFA Medical Manual and other required reading
  • Review the suggested reading
  • View, or listen to, any relevant multimedia content
  • Complete the course quiz


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