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The Throwing Athlete's Shoulder

Surgeons, physical therapists, and Major League Baseball athletic training coaches from literally across the world annually present the latest strategies in preventing and treating injuries in the pitcher’s elbow and shoulder, from little leaguers to pro players. Today, we will go over key points from the conference on how you can help "build a healthy throwing athlete". There are three key components to consider.

First, the anatomy (rotator cuff, shoulder blade and trunk). We must train or restore STABILITY at these areas. If not, the wear and tear of pitching will make a short career, their speed will be less than their capability and fatigue will happen early. The rotator cuff’s most important job is to keep the ball and socket of the shoulder joint centrated; meaning, the shoulder rotates 180 degrees in many planes and the cuff has to keep the ball in the middle of the socket. The core and shoulder blade must have the ability to stiffen, like a good spring wrapping around the body. Think about a pitcher throwing an upper 90 MPH pitch. The force to throw the ball passes from their feet to their fingers. If the springs are weak, there will be an energy leak during each throw. Force will be generated solely from the shoulder, not the entire body and loss of speed and/or injury will occur.

Total shoulder rotational range of motion (TRM) measures the MOBILITY of the joint. It is calculated by measuring the total degrees of internal and external rotation at the shoulder joint with no shoulder blade movement. Research shows that pitchers lacking more than 5 degrees of TRM, especially when the loss is internal rotation, are 3.5x more likely to end up on the Disabled List during the season.

Lastly, when a young pitcher’s talent is discovered, please remember the importance of preventing injuries by monitoring pitch counts. Coaches and parents should visit for pitch count guidelines and stick to them during games AND practice.

To see if your athlete has the STABILITY and MOBILITY for this season, see us at Cumberland Chiropractic and Sports Medicine to get a quality, "functional" physical exam. At Cumberland Chiropractic and Sports Medicine, no problem is overlooked through the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. If a problems exists, we fix it with the most effective care from Active Release Technique to manipulation and rehabilitation exercises.


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