From patients that have been knocked flying by large dogs to patients that are injured due to their dogs taking off after a cat and damaging their shoulder – we’ve seen them all. Dog walking injuries and shoulder pain are a lot more common that you perhaps think!
A sudden pulling of the lead and before we know it, we’re swept off our feet and if it isn’t the jerk that injures our shoulder, it’s often the fall that follows! Note* – if anti-inflammatories don’t improve injuries after a couple of days, and we feel weakness in the arm, it is advisable that we seek professional attention from a Physiotherapist.
Most common type of dog walking injuries from being pulled by a dog
The most common shoulder injury from a dog pulling on a lead is the rotator cuff – this is a group of 4 muscles and their tendons that hold the upper arm to the shoulder blade. It can be difficult to tell exactly how much of a tear has been created at first due to initial inflammation, however, most partial-thickness tears can often be fixed by rehab with a good physio. For a full tear, it would have to have been a severe pulling of the lead from an extremely strong dog, so don’t worry too much at this stage!
Shoulders are tricky though, so make sure that your physiotherapist is thorough and experienced enough should you feel you have dome some real damage.
How do we treat this type of shoulder injury?
To start with, treatment consists of limiting and reducing the inflammation (caused by the torn edges). We then gradually load up the muscle, so that it repairs and strengthens without ‘pulling apart’. Sometimes the area also needs to be stretched as it heals, (newly repaired tissue tends to be tight and can effectively shrink-wrap the joint too tightly) or needs strapping to help to keep the shoulder in the correct place, while it is weakened by a tear.
If you have a strong dog that often pulls on its lead, please be aware of this type of injury, particularly in wet and slippery conditions. We see more patients with this issue during the winter time more than any other.
If you have any questions, you can also use our FREE online ‘Ask A Physio’ service, whether you often suffer with dog walking injuries or you’d just like a little advice. Alternatively, you may call us on 01282 453 110.