The start of the spring season means that it is finally time for many athletes to implement off-season drills, workouts, and preparation for competition. For baseball players and other throwing athletes, especially pitchers, this means a lot of throwing.
The physical act of throwing a baseball is arguably the fastest and most aggressive maneuver the body can endure.1 Throwing requires the marriage of both shoulder flexibility and stability. This relationship between maximal motion and stabilizing strength is referred to as the thrower’s paradox.1 Like all repetitive and forceful activities, there runs a risk of pain and injury. “Pain and dysfunction in the throwing shoulder may be attributed to numerous etiologies, including those of the joint, muscular or neurovascular structures.”1 These physical demands with throwing sports make education on the movement and anatomy paramount in order to best identify, treat, and prevent sidelining-injuries.
In summary, large forces placed on the shoulder over time can contribute to instability, weakness, and tightness of soft tissue creating mechanical changes. These performance limitations can have long lasting orthopedic effects on the shoulder mechanics resulting in not only pain but a wide degree of injury that may require medical intervention.
Exercises for combating said limitations include stretching the joint capsule and soft tissue, strengthening the rotator cuff and core muscles, improving muscular endurance, increasing dynamic stability, and improving throwing mechanics. An early diagnostic assessment of shoulder pain can help rehabilitate and prevent further chronic injury.
If you would like to learn more about enhancing your baseball performance and preventing throwing injuries, Athletico offers a video throwing analysis. If you experience any pain or injuries during play, contact Athletico Physical Therapy for a free assessment. Free assessments are available in-clinic or virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Seroyer, S. T., Nho, S.J., Bach, B. R., Bush-Joseph, C. A., Nicholson, G.P., & Romeo, A.A. Shoulder Pain in the Overhead Throwing Athlete. Sports Health, (v.1. p108-120). 2009.