The MLB season is well underway, so we can count on certain injuries to occur over the next few months: traumatic and overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow. Examples include UCL sprains in the throwing elbow, rotator cuff strains of the throwing shoulder and labral injuries within the throwing shoulder.
Many of these injuries occur due to chronic overuse (too many pitches followed by too many pitches with pain) as well as motion deficits in the throwing shoulder (rotation deficits). Due to these deficits, compensatory motion can occur at the elbow and scapula which can place increased stress on passive structures in both of those areas. Surgery is sometimes indicated which can lead to 4-6 weeks of time away from the field. Also, the scar tissue that builds post surgery is generally weaker than normal tissue, so overall performance may be reduced once an athlete returns to play.
If injuries are detected before large grade strains or sprains occur, education about practice intensity, aggravating activity modification, isolated strengthening of the rotator cuff, and manual therapy to improve shoulder range of motion can be utilized to treat and eventually prevent these injuries from occurring again without spending nearly as much time off of the field. If you have pain in your shoulder when throwing, and you want to get back on the mound as soon as possible, reach out to POST Physical Therapy today to make an appointment!
Corpus KT, Camp CL, Dines DM, Altchek DW, Dines JS. Evaluation and treatment of internal
impingement of the shoulder in overhead athletes. World J Orthop; 2016; 7(12): 776-784.Wilk, E et al. Deficits in glenohumeral passive range of motion increase risk of elbow injury in professional baseball pitchers. American Journal of Sports Medicine; 2014; 42(9); 2075-2081.