3 Shoulder Injuries For Baseball Pitchers

3 Shoulder Injuries For Baseball Pitchers

In this video, Scott Haase educated players, parents and coaches on 3 important shoulder injuries that baseball pitchers may face.

Baseball pitchers have been known to get shoulder injuries and Scott covers rotator cuff injuries for baseball players, little league shoulder for baseball players, and thoracic outlet syndrome for baseball players.

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Full Transcript (will update):

Let's talk about three different upper body, kinds of shoulder injuries for baseball pitchers that you're going to see, two of them are pretty common. Unfortunately, one of them also, unfortunately, it's something that you don't hear a lot about historically, but you're hearing more and more about, and it can be really kind of a pain in the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

So the first one is that you're probably familiar with rotator cuff injuries. So that can come in the form of a tear, a complete tear, so a partial tear, or a complete tear of the rotator cuff. Or it might just be something else. But what they tend to are, what they tend to refer to is the rotator cuff, which is actually four different muscles. So you got kind of one in the front and the back and two over top. So it's actually a set of four different muscles, making up the rotator cuff, which kind of encapsulates it just covers the shoulder, and well, so take this bicep bone here, and it gets held in there by a bunch of different things, four of which are the rotator cuff muscles. And one of those gets aggravated, irritated, partially torn or completely torn that you have a rotator cuff injury. So it's kind of a way of, or an umbrella way of talking about a bunch of different things in there. It's just less specific. So what happens with that is either an overuse or an anatomical issue, or a freak accident, those are kind of the big three, the freak accident is not going to tend to be shown up in baseball players, now you can get it. I know there's people that go snowboarding and they've jacked up, there's rotator cuff muscle, there are people that maybe if they do try to throw really hard, and they haven't thrown really hard or at all, in many, many months and tried to just let it loose. Potentially, they could be injuring themselves with a rotator cuff injury. But it tends to be a matter of overuse for baseball pitchers. But let's not simplify it too much, it's a little bit more complex. It could be overuse, with lack of strength, it can be overused with bad mechanics, it could be overuse, from overuse. So if it's a lack of strength, it's because that player either never had the strength, or maybe had a little, but just never really trained it. So there's different shoulder exercises you can do even just push-ups are really good for basic, but there's two being there's all kinds of things you can do to strengthen the shoulder joint. Because what happens is use your body as much as you possibly can. And then at the very last second your arm is coming through, it's coming out like this, there's a bunch of different things, including the rotator cuff muscles that are trying to stop this arm basically falling off, your skin's helping to, and those things have to work really hard. And we need to get those strong. So if they're not very strong, that can be an issue. Mechanically, if you're not using your body very well. And you really have to put a ton of force in rotation with your upper body to try and make up for the lack of using your the rest of your body, then there's added force. And that can be a ton of stress that isn't necessarily needed on your upper body, you shouldn't have to work as hard with your upper body, the rest of the body's happening. And the last thing overuse by overuse is when a pitcher just throws way too much a coach as the adult is not stepping in and saying hey, you've never thrown this much. And that was 40 pitches ago, you need to stop, uh, you need to take some time off, not a day, not a week, but you might need to take two weeks off, you might need to just shut it down for the rest of the season. So an adult's not stepping in overuse can be an issue. But there's a lot of different factors. Most people just say, Oh overuse the end, he threw too much. It's not always that simple. So that's typically your rotator cuff muscle, or muscles, the whole area, the injury reasons.

Little League Shoulder

There's going to have a lot of the same reasons. But the Little League Shoulder is going to tend to be a chip in the bone. In this area, or a chip in the growth plate. Similar nature, you'll see an X rays where the bones just aren't at like, I'll say this is the top of the bones. This is a bone right here in the top, this just doesn't look as white, we'll say in the X ray, which is a little more blurry. It's not completely grown in or there's areas where it looks like it's going to grow more. And there's a little bit of a tear, not tear, you don’t tear your bone, but there's a little bit of a crack in there or a chip they talked about they just basically classify that as a fracture or a break or a growth plate fracture break, you're gonna hear termed a bunch of things, whether it's a doctor, you're reading an article, or you're hearing it from someone, but literally shoulder tends to be a classification of some type of bony issue that it could depending on where you're from, could be a muscular issue as well. They might just throw the blanket of Little League shoulder saying that, hey, you're a little a little league age, you're still a youth athlete, and you've got a shoulder issue right now. And then what the doctors are going to do kind of for both, is hopefully first of all they're going to say, hey, let's just hope it's not a big issue. I'll take an x ray Okay, X rays Great, let's just do some time off for a couple weeks, some rehab, and get them back. So the way the progression typically typically goes, time off, exercises, kind of in either order, check back up. So if both of those aren't working, the exercise is getting stronger, taking some time off, those sorts still don't work, then they'll get, they might get a little more invasive, meaning they're going to maybe get an MRI, or prefer you to physical therapy, where it's six or eight weeks of a lot of exercise. And then if all of those don't work, and the MRI still doesn't come back clean, or if the MRI does come back, positive for some type of other injury, or they're looking at the muscles, then they might talk about surgery, and like talk about a long time off of a lot of physical therapy. So those are kind of your options. Obviously, surgery within have rehab and all that. But we don't want to ever get to that point. Typically a little league shoulder doesn't get to the point of surgery, if found early, if recognized early, and they, the player mentions it to their parents or the coach or someone and they kind of start to take care of it. So rest and or exercise, definitely some exercise and rehab. And then taking care of what the next steps are, which is hopefully you're healthy, or you have to get an MRI where they can see the muscles, and you keep talking to the doctor. That's the progression. That's why it's so important to take care of your shoulder health beforehand. So you never have to get to this point. So as your rotator cuff muscles, and a rotator cuff tear, that is your little league shoulder.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

 And then also the last thing I just want you to know about that's not as common, like I referred to is called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, I won't get into the details of exactly what it is and a whole bunch of medical terms in that. But I want you to meet be familiar with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Because it can be a real pain in the neck, the shoulder, the arm a bunch of different areas, What's basically happening is you've got veins, arteries, things that go all throughout your body. And because of either a well, it's going to be typically because your your anatomy, just the way your bones are made up. Some people actually have an extra rib. And then some people have just where their rib and their collarbone are closer together. So what happens is all the stuff all the veins and arteries and things going through, go sometimes in between your ribs, and sometimes what's going through, it gets pinched. So your ribs are either closer together. Again, some people have an extra rib, in between the collarbone and the ribs, this area right here gets squished it squishes that his veins, arteries, those things like that, that make you sometimes feel tingling is in your pinky, or your hand or your thumb, or your wrist starts to hurt or your bicep. And this is where it gets really difficult. So this is why I want you to be aware of it. So you can always ask a doctor about it. If you're like, Hey, I'm having a bicep issue or an elbow issue or my hand is tingling, or it's numb or something in my forearm. Or maybe I'm a neck issue. Because with that going on. Unfortunately, you can't say, oh, my wrist hurts. So to restore my elbow hurts with my elbow, My shoulder hurts because my shoulder, it's a little bit more complex than that again, unfortunately, but But you knowing this is good, because you can ask the doctor, doctors didn't really diagnosis they didn't know about this as much. 510 15 years ago, more and more people are talking about it, there's more articles coming out. But they're still not as much information. But just to warn you, it can actually get pretty bad because of the things that are getting squished in there. So there are people that get discoloration, hands. If you get any type of discoloration, or tingling, definitely talk to a physician, your athletic trainer, so someone can start to look at it right away. And don't be afraid to ask, hey, could this be something like Thoracic Outlet Syndrome? So ask the question, for sure. Because it can actually get pretty bad when you're messing with veins, arteries and all that kind of stuff. So tingling. This is something that you might recognize pain in a bunch of different areas. Typically pain can go away with rest with exercise was physical therapy, but when it persists and just doesn't go away for months and months and months, that's when you need to definitely be asking more questions like okay, if we've got the MRI, and that looks fine, we've got the X rays, and that looks fine. Can we look at other areas because again, you can't say my elbow hurts. So let's just look at the elbow, there's a lot more factors. Strength deficiency is a huge one. So that's where they're going to try and target first. But really it goes X ray, MRI where they can see the muscles and those contain tendons and all that stuff. And then they'll actually they can also do an MRI with dye where they add a color component. So it shows up even more on the MRI. So that's something and then definitely be asking about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. So you can know if there's something going on up here and your neck area shoulder area. That is then causing a pain in here or somewhere else.

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