Shoulder injuries are very common in the throwing athlete.
Shoulder injuries are very common in the throwing athlete. The use of high-speed video technology has shown that pitching a baseball requires the arm to accelerate at a speed of 7,000 degrees per second. Larger muscles surrounding the shoulder are most active during the acceleration of the throw, whereas the smaller, more delicate rotator cuff muscles are most active during the deceleration phase.
Our specialists will evaluate the throwing athlete by obtaining a thorough history and physical exam. A series of tests will be performed on both shoulders to compare range of motion, strength, and evaluate maneuvers that elicit pain. Radiographic imaging and MRIs will be obtained when necessary for diagnosing the problem. Microtrauma injuries to the rotator cuff muscles are common and can cause pain while throwing, whereas more significant tears may cause profuse night pain. Instability may cause pain or give the sensation of subluxation especially during the follow through phase of throwing. Athletes that are experiencing decreased range of motion, particularly internal rotation, may have contracture of the posterior capsule.
Treatment for shoulder injuries in the throwing athlete will be focused on the patient’s specific issue. There are many different possible pathologies in the shoulder that can cause pain and dysfunction. Our shoulder specialists focus on conservative management initially which usually requires physical therapy directed toward strengthening the shoulder girdle, stretching, and decreasing pain. If there are no improvements seen over a 3-6 month time period, surgical treatment may be considered.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.