Throwing a ball at batting practice gives you plenty of opportunities to work on your speed, form, and timing, but the repetitive wear and tear on your shoulder can cause injury.
At The Spine and Sports Center in Sugarland and Houston, Texas, Dr. Benoy Benny provides rehabilitation and nonsurgical therapy to treat shoulder injuries, but the best option is to be educated about the dangers of repetitive use and to take steps to avoid injuring your shoulder in the first place.
Common shoulder injuries caused by throwing
Damage can be done to your shoulder joint even before you start experiencing shoulder pain. Minor strains and tears on soft tissues can slowly worsen, scar tissue can form, and cartilage can wear away. Many athletes simply attempt to push through the pain and keep going, but this is a good way to end up with a serious injury.
Causes of your shoulder pain due to overhand throwing or pitching include:
Rotator cuff injuries
Your rotator cuff is a complex system of muscles and tendons that keep the ball and socket joint of your shoulder together while providing rotating ability, flexibility, and strength so you can throw the ball fast and hard.
If your tendons tear, you’ll notice instant instability in your shoulder along with extreme pain. Minor tears can be treated nonsurgically, but major tears usually require surgery to fix.
The cushion that surrounds your shoulder joint and protects it is called the labrum. Constant throwing can cause a superior labral anteroposterior (SLAP) tear at the top of your labrum. SLAP tears cause symptoms much like those of rotator cuff tears, and treatment is similar. Both injuries can be career-ending, which is why it’s critical to protect your shoulder.
Keeping your shoulder joint safe at batting practice
There are five top things you can do to protect your shoulder joint when you know you’re going to be throwing a lot:
- Warm up completely: throwing on a cold shoulder almost always leads to injury
- Limit your number of throws: include pitch counts from practice as well as games
- Use proper form: throwing incorrectly can cause injury or dislocate your shoulder
- Wear/use proper gear: wrong or poorly fitted equipment can cause injury
- Stop if you’re hurting: forcing yourself to continue will only make things worse
Treating shoulder pain
At The Spine and Sports Center, we help you recover mobility and reduce pain with nonsurgical methods like physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
To learn more about preventing shoulder injury, schedule a consultation with Dr. Benny and our team. You can get in touch by calling our location closest to you or booking an appointment online today.