Summertime brings several things to mind; sunshine, barbecues, and baseball. Whether it is tee ball, club ball, little league, or major league, games are happening almost every day. One thing every player learns to do at a young age is throw the ball. Unfortunately, even with perfect mechanics, injuries occur. This can be due to many different things. One problem is overuse of the throwing arm. Another is improper warm-up, resulting in strains, sprains, and tears of upper extremity structures. These types of injuries don’t only happen when throwing. For example, swinging a bat, tennis racquet, or golf club can result in injury to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. The best idea is to avoid such injuries before they occur!
Shoulder Injury at a Glance
There are several simple things you can do to help prevent upper extremity problems during throwing and swinging activities. The first is maintaining adequate scapulothoracic range of motion and rhythm. That’s right, our bones have rhythms! That is, bones have certain patterns they are meant to move through, and when that rhythm is off, problems can arise. So, making sure that we incorporate exercises and stretches that improve the motion of the entire shoulder complex, both scapulothoracic and glenohumeral, are very important. By doing this, one can also take stress away from the elbow. Secondly, you should always strengthen your body in its full range of motion. If you want your body to function properly in all positions, then you have to train that way too. With throwing and swinging sports in particular, this means strengthening in overhead planes and at end points of reaching and pulling.
How to Treat
The stretches and exercises listed below are a good start to improving upper extremity mobility and strength. While performing them, make note of differences from side to side, and ranges of motion that are most difficult. These are indicators of areas that might need additional work. If you feel you may benefit from a more thorough evaluation and individualized exercise program, please contact our office, at (480) 968-2020 or to email us click here. We are happy to help get you back onto the court or field!