5 Easy Tips to Avoid Subway Shoulder Injuries

Jul 30



The shoulder is a very mobile joint. It becomes vulnerable to injury when placed in a position that may result in muscle or tendon impingement. One position is when your arm is raised along your side above 90 degrees parallel to floor. This is called abduction, and its a very common shoulder position when supporting ourselves on the train.

If you are one of the unlucky people who find themselves standing the entire commute, you know that you have three options to support yourself from falling during your trip. There are over-head horizontal bars, the lower horizontal bars (at the end of each row) and vertical support grab bars. The bar you choose may determine your risk of injury.

Here are a few helpful tips:

1. Always chose the vertical bar first if you have the option. Second choice would be the lower horizontal bars. Depending on your height the horizontal overhead bars can leave you more vulnerable to shoulder injury.

2. Hold the vertical bar so that your arm is comfortably bent, and your hand is below the level of the same shoulder, but at least above your waist. Stand closer to the bar to avoid allowing your arm from being over-extended.

3. DO NOT carry your bags on the same shoulder that you hold the bar with.

4. Keep a slight bend in your knees, and stand with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart. This is gives you a better base of support in case of any sudden stops.

5. If you already have a shoulder injury, do not use that arm to support yourself. You don’t want to delay your healing by allowing it to be jerked or pulled by sudden train movements.

Please don’t read this article and think you’re better off not supporting yourself when riding the train. If you have no choice but to hold an overhead horizontal bar when riding, then please do so. It’s better than falling.

Special Thanks to Amy M. for her suggestions with this article.

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