The Throwing Athlete | Keeping Your Shoulder Healthy and Strong

There are few athletes more susceptible to injury than the “throwing athlete.” In fact, according to “Stop Sports Injuries” from the AOSSM, elbow and shoulder injuries among young people are reaching “epidemic” proportion. So, whether you’re a baseball player or involved in field sports like the javelin throw, it’s important to remember that injury prevention is something you should always be thinking about.

What’s the biggest culprit? The answer is well summed-up in a quote from the AOSSM:

“If a young athlete is throwing too hard, too much, too early, and without rest, a serious elbow or shoulder injury may be on the horizon.”

So, how can you keep yourself protected? The goal is to keep your shoulder healthy and strong. Here is our list of 5 Tips for the Throwing Athlete:

  1. Never skip your warm-up. “Throwing cold” is one of the biggest mistakes new athletes make. When you’re ready to start throwing, take it easy. Increase intensity slowly and gradually.
  2. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain, stop! What starts as a minor nuisance can grow into a full-blown shoulder injury.
  3. Take a day off. Try not to throw on consecutive days. Give your body the time it needs to heal and recover. Also, alternate positions throughout practice.
  4. Forget about speed. Faster isn’t always better – especially when it comes to injury prevention. Instead of worrying about being the fastest thrower, focus on being the most accurate thrower.
  5. Consult with a Sports Medicine Physician. The best way to find out what sorts of activities are appropriate for you and to address any injury concerns is to meet with a Sports Medicine Specialist.

Sports Shoulder Injuries

Of course, sports injuries can happen – it’s simply part of the game. Thankfully, it’s not the end of the world. The key is knowing what to watch out for and what you can do about it.

Here are two of the most common injuries among throwing athletes:

  • Rotator cuff injury: Your rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that connect your shoulder blade to your upper arm. And, any repetitive arm movement – like throwing – puts you at greater risk for a rotator cuff tear. While rest and physical therapy may be enough for some, patients often require surgery. Rotator cuff repair involves reattaching the tendon back to the arm, along with removing any loose fragments from the shoulder area. With physical therapy, most patients experience newfound strength and mobility.
  • Labral tears: A labrum is a protective cuff of cartilage that provides stability, cushioning and a full range of motion to the shoulder. For the throwing athlete, overuse can cause a “labral tear.” This can lead to pain and “catching” of the joint while moving. Treatment usually comes in the form of arthroscopic surgery. The goal is to repair the unstable shoulder with staples, anchors or sutures.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Worcester

If you think you’re suffering from a throwing or other sports-related injury, take the first step – contact us today. Our Worcester office can be reached at (508) 363-6363. We look forward to meeting you.

Posted in: Injury Prevention Tips

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123 Summer St.
Suite 520
Worcester, MA 01608

Tel: 508.363.6363

123 Summer St. Suite 520, Worcester, MA 01608 508.363.6363