“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” -Benjamin Franklin
The MJP Sports Medicine team puts just as much emphasis on prevention of injury as on treatment of injury. This is evident in the continued assessment and work with 50+ TCS Post Grad baseball athletes training at MJP.
“It is common for us to see shoulder problems in throwing athletes,” Ben Seagraves, Director of MJP Sports Medicine, said. “The motion of overhead throwing is stressful on the shoulder and can be difficult to treat because the shoulder must be loose enough to allow excessive external rotation, while being stable enough to prevent symptomatic impingement and instability within the shoulder.”
This balance between mobility and functional stability is commonly referred to as the “thrower’s paradox.” Research shows that pitchers whose total range of motion, on the throwing arm, is limited by less than 5 degrees compared to the non-throwing arm have two and a half times greater risk of shoulder injury. A deficit of less than five degrees in the throwing shoulder flexion can also increase risk of injury by almost three times. In order to reduce these risks, MJP Sports Med measures each athlete’s internal and external range of motion to monitor any changes that might arise, due to their throwing program. If an athlete falls outside the parameters detailed above, they are prescribed several mobility and stability exercises to improve range of motion and shoulder stability.
The following list includes a few exercises prescribed to athletes by our Sports Med team to prevent shoulder injuries.
Cross-Body Stretch: Reach across your body and grab onto a door frame. While pulling down on elbow with opposite arm, rotate away from door frame, until you feel a stretch in back of shoulder.
Lacrosse Ball: Place a lacrosse ball on the wall and lean into it, with your pec against the ball. Then roll the length of your pec for 2 minutes. Then, place the lacrosse ball on the wall and lean into it, with your posterior cuff (the fleshy area between your shoulder blade and underarm) against the ball. Roll throughout the posterior cuff for 2 minutes.
ATYW: Grip tubing with palms facing forward. Begin by keeping arms straight and extending arms back until hands are in line with hips, forming an “A”. Focus on squeezing shoulder blades together. Pause and return to starting position. Repeat with bringing arms at shoulder height forming a “T” and again overhead forming a “Y”. Avoid arching low back during “Y”. The final position is with elbows bent, rotating arms back (external rotation) to form a “W”. The focus through all positions is on squeezing shoulder blades together. Continue this series for a minute.
External Rotation at 90 Degrees: Stand with elbow at shoulder height. Grip tubing and rotate arm back (external rotation), keeping elbow at shoulder height. Pause and return slowly to starting position. Continue this series for a minute.
MJP Sports Med team provides free screening, stop by to learn more about how they can help with injury prevention.
Wilk, K. E., Meister, K., & Andrews, J. R. (2002). Current Concepts in the Rehabilitation of the Overhead Throwing Athlete. The American Journal of Sports Medicine,30(1), 136-151.
Manske, R., & Ellenbecker, T. (2013). Current Concepts in Shoulder Examination of the Overhead Athlete. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy,8(5), 554-574. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
Wilk, K. E., Macrina, L. C., Fleisig, G. S., Aune, K. T., Porterfield, R. A., Harker, P., . . . Andrews, J. R. (2014). Deficits in Glenohumeral Passive Range of Motion Increase Risk of Elbow Injury in Professional Baseball Pitchers. The American Journal of Sports Medicine,42(9), 2075-2081.