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Shoulder Injuries and Baseball

May 22, 2014

Baseball is a game that includes a lot of throwing and pitching motions. This is why shoulder injuries are common among baseball players. In order to improve the “throwing arm”, players need to practice consistently. The key aspects that need to be developed are flexibility, muscular strength, coordination, synchronicity of muscular firing, and neuromuscular efficiency. However, these will expose the shoulder muscles, bones and joints to excessive amounts of friction and stress. Insufficient conditioning such as stretching and strength training can also increase chances of shoulder injuries.

Common Shoulder Injuries of Baseball Players

Baseball players must improve the accuracy and velocity of their throwing arm in order to stay ahead in the game, and this can only be achieved through repetitive throwing and pitching. Unfortunately, these training exercises can lead to the following shoulder injuries:

Shoulder Tendinitis

Tendons are flexible bands of fibrous tissues that fasten muscles to bones. They also connect the rotator cuff and the biceps. Shoulder tendinitis can result from tension in these structures. If the tendon of the rotator cuff thickens and inflames, it will get stuck at the top of the shoulder blade. Symptoms include redness, swelling and pain.

Shoulder Bursitis

Bursae are small sacs of synovial fluid that can be found on points where tendons and muscles glide across bones. These can be inflamed due to excessive movement, extreme pressure and trauma. Symptoms include erythema – stinging pain around the area that surrounds the bursae and joint.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

This is also called “thrower’s shoulder”, simply because repetitive throwing can cause this conditionThe muscle tendons of the rotator cuff goes through a small space between the head of humerus and the acromion process of the scapula, and when space is narrowed further by subacromial bursa, Impingement Syndrome can be developed. Symptoms include pain, loss of shoulder movement and weakness.

Torn Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff plays a crucial part in throwing and pitching, which means it is exposed to high levels of stress for baseball players. It means that one or more rotator cuff muscle tendons have been torn away. Symptoms include pain, bruising and inflammation. Recovery time usually covers a month but can be prolonged if activities that involve the injured shoulder are not decreased.

Adhesive Capsulitis

This is also referred to as “frozen shoulder” because it can severely reduce the motion range of the shoulder joint. Trauma during game or practice can cause this frustrating condition. Recovery can take several months to 3 years.

Shoulder Separation

This refers to the tearing of ligaments (or extreme stretching) where the clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade) meet. This is also called the AC (acromioclavicular) joint. When these ligaments tear – completely or even just partially – the collarbone can detach from the scapula.

Shoulder Instability

This is the state wherein structures that mount the shoulder joint fail to keep the ball securely within its socket. A joint that is too loose may slide out partially and lead to shoulder subluxation. And if it moves completely out of place, it is termed shoulder dislocation.

When To See An Orthopaedic Doctor

Consistent throwing and pitching is essential for baseball players, which means that shoulder injuries are quite inevitable. However, there are preventative techniques that they can undertake to lessen chances of having these types of injuries.

An orthopaedic doctor must be seen at the very first sign of injury. This is to prevent further complications that can keep you from playing baseball for an extended period of time. An orthopaedic doctor can prescribe the appropriate treatment for all types of shoulder injuries.