Mary BokenMary Boken, 18, of Wheaton was a senior stand-out volleyball player at St. Francis High School. Recruited to play outside hitter in the fall of 2015 at Clemson University, she was looking forward to a bright college volleyball career. However, her increasing shoulder pain threatened her plan.

Boken, who has been playing volleyball since 4th grade, experienced gradual shoulder pain which continued through her club season and eventually became unbearable.

She went to see her primary care physician, who prescribed a course of physical therapy that that didn’t relieve her pain. Her doctor then suggested she might be a candidate for labral tear surgery. On the recommendation of friends, she contacted Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, team physicians for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Fire.

During an appointment with Dr. Gregory Nicholson, she was pleased to learn that she didn’t have a labral tear, but did need surgery to decompress her suprascapular nerve (relieve pressure in a nerve in her shoulder). This was causing a muscle imbalance in the rotator cuff muscles. Dr. Nicholson explained that this was an overuse injury, caused by over-working the same joint and surrounding tissue.

With her condition properly diagnosed and treated, Boken has been successfully working toward recovery. Dr. Nicholson predicts that she should be able to start hitting again in the late summer, just in time for Clemson practices.

Looking back, Boken wishes that competitive volleyball players like her could get more of a break from year-round training. She knows that there are many like her, for whom cross training and time off from a sport becomes difficult, causing overuse injuries. She points to club and high school seasons which are played back-to-back and the pressure for athletes to compete at higher levels.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicholson, call 877-MD-BONES (877.632.6637)