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Throwing Injuries of the Shoulder

Shoulder injuries are common in athletes who throw a lot, especially in baseball and particularly in pitchers. The repetitive stresses on the shoulder lead to a plethora of shoulder overuse injuries. Similar injuries are also seen in other sports requiring repetitive overhand motions, such as tennis, softball, or volleyball.

What causes Shoulder Throwing Injuries?

When athletes throw repeatedly with velocity, significant stresses are placed on the structures of the shoulder joint. As one structure is weakened due to repetitive stresses, other structures must step in to pick up the slack. Shoulder injuries will result, most often with the rotator cuff or labrum.

How do you know you have a Shoulder Throwing Injury?

Typical symptoms of a throwing injury are:

  • Pain with certain shoulder movements
  • Sensation of “locking” or “catching”
  • Pain deep within the shoulder
  • Sharp, sudden pain
  • “Popping” or “snapping” noise
  • Pain radiating from front of shoulder to side of arm
  • Night pain; pain that wakes you up from sleep
  • Loss of motion and strength
  • Loss of throwing velocity

How does OSI fix a Shoulder Injury?

An OSI shoulder expert will discuss your activities to determine what may be causing your shoulder pain. You will then be examined using one or more of the following to verify your shoulder injury and help determine the best course of treatment:

  • Physical exam: Following a discussion of your medical history and symptoms, your OSI physician will conduct a thorough examination of the shoulder, performing a number of tests to assess your shoulder’s range of motion, stability, and strength. This may include attempting to reproduce symptoms by placing the arm in various positions.
  • Imaging: Tests such as X-ray or MRI may be used to determine the extent of the injuries to the structures of your shoulder.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment options for many of these throwing injuries prove successful:

  • Activity modification
  • Icing
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Corrective mechanics
  • Cortisone injections

Surgical Treatment

Different surgical options are available, depending on factors such as the type of injury, as well as your anatomy and age. The selection is based on the health needs of the individual. Arthroscopy is the preferred choice for many throwing injuries.