Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson had surgery on his right shoulder on March 7 to repair a torn labrum. In a previous Fanpost, I discussed in more detail the implications of a labral tear, and the surgery that was needed to repair it. Johnson now appears on track to return to the Octagon in July.
In an April 10 article on MMAFighting.com, Ariel Helwani notes that Demetrius has regained full range of motion of his surgically repaired shoulder. He was also cleared to begin shadow boxing. This is an important progression of his rehab program. Shadow boxing will allow him to start working his shoulder in functional patterns, rather than straight range of motion. The early phase of rehab after most shoulder surgeries starts with simple, controlled range of motion exercises. The idea behind this type of exercise is to prevent the shoulder joint from tightening up, and to maintain flexibility of the joint capsule. The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, and that flexibility must be preserved as soon as it is safe post-operatively. On March 18, Demetrius tweeted a picture of himself engaged in his shoulder range of motion program.
Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) March 18, 2013
Shadow boxing is a functional exercise for Demetrius. As a fighter, his shoulder must be able to move quickly at different angles in order to effectively deliver strikes, and shadow boxing will get this process started. He will be able to start simulating strikes, without the impact load from the actual strike. More importantly, he will start to rehabilitate his shoulder proprioception. Proprioception refers to the body's ability to sense movement within joints, and to sense joint position. Proprioception is particularly important in the shoulder which is the point of force transition when striking. The power for a strike is initiated in the legs, then transferred from the legs to the trunk. As the arm starts to extend during a strike, the shoulder directs the force in a coordinated fashion to the arm, and ultimately to the target via the hand. After shoulder surgery, the joint proprioception ability declines, and practice is the only way to regain it. (If you are interested, I discuss the concept of joint proprioception in more detail on the MMA Injury blog.)
Overall, I would say that Demetrius should be ready to jump back in the Octagon in July. His shoulder rehab seems to be progressing quite well.
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