As we enter the MLB postseason, many of us are not only in awe of the exceptional athletes who continuously push their physical limits on the diamond, but also inspired by their unwavering commitment to treatment and rehabilitation in the face of injuries. Due to the throwing nature of the sport, shoulder injuries are common in baseball athletes. Additionally, in the general population, these shoulder injuries often stem from the cumulative effects of daily activities, sports, and work-related tasks that place stress on the shoulder joint. It’s important to note that these common baseball shoulder injuries, often stemming from overuse, aren’t exclusive to the pros; they can affect anyone, from the weekend warrior to the devoted Little League player. At AOSMI, we understand that these injuries know no boundaries, and our dedication to delivering top-tier care extends to every individual seeking our expertise. In this article, we delve into the realm of common baseball shoulder injuries, detailing their symptoms and outlining the comprehensive treatment options we offer. Whether you’re a professional pitcher or a dedicated fan, we hope the knowledge we share here can make all the difference when it comes to understanding and addressing these challenging injuries.
Three Common Baseball Shoulder Injuries:
SLAP Tears (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior)
- Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tears are a frequent concern among baseball players. These injuries affect the labrum, a crucial cartilaginous ring that stabilizes the shoulder joint. Players with SLAP tears may experience symptoms such as persistent shoulder pain, especially during the cocking phase of throwing, a clicking or popping sensation, reduced range of motion, and occasional instability. The discomfort can impact their ability to throw accurately and with power.
Biceps Tendinitis and Tendon Tears:
- Biceps tendinitis involves inflammation of the biceps tendon, which connects the biceps muscle to the shoulder. Over time, this can lead to tendon tears, causing discomfort and limiting performance, particularly in pitching and throwing. Symptoms include a deep ache in the front of the shoulder, pain during overhead movements, weakness when lifting or throwing, and sometimes a noticeable bulge in the upper arm as the torn tendon retracts.
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis and Tears:
- The rotator cuff comprises four muscles and tendons responsible for maintaining shoulder stability. Tendinitis and tears within the rotator cuff are common in baseball players due to the repetitive strain from throwing. Patients often report symptoms like shoulder pain, particularly during throwing or when lifting objects, weakness in the shoulder, limited range of motion, and disturbed sleep due to discomfort when lying on the affected side.
What are Treatment Options for these Common Baseball Shoulder Injuries?
Physical therapy is a crucial component of the recovery process for these common baseball shoulder injuries, providing patients with conservative management options to regain strength and mobility. At AOSMI, our physical therapists tailor their treatment plans to your unique injury, ensuring a personalized approach. Although these shoulder injuries are common in throwing athletes, physical therapy is a beneficial option for many of our orthopedic patients, regardless of your physical ability or activity level. As part of comprehensive treatment plan, three common physical therapy exercises that your physical therapist may prescribe are pendulum swings, scapular squeezes, and resistance band external rotations – which are designed to slowly increase range of motion and strengthen the shoulder joint.
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure that has transformed the treatment of various shoulder conditions, including those common in baseball players and the general public experiencing shoulder pain. Here’s a detailed look at this advanced surgical option:
- Procedure Overview – Arthroscopic shoulder surgery involves the use of a tiny camera called an arthroscope and small incisions in the shoulder area. The arthroscope is inserted through one of these incisions, providing a clear view of the inside of the shoulder joint on a monitor. Surgeons can precisely diagnose and treat various shoulder issues without the need for large incisions or extensive tissue disruption
- Diagnostic Capabilities – Arthroscopy allows for a detailed examination of the shoulder joint, including the labrum, rotator cuff, ligaments, and cartilage. This diagnostic precision helps surgeons identify the exact nature and extent of the injury, ensuring a targeted and effective treatment plan.
- Treatment Options – Depending on the diagnosis, arthroscopic shoulder surgery offers several treatment options, such as repairing torn tendons or ligaments, removing damaged tissue, or addressing impingement issues. It can also be used to stabilize the shoulder joint in cases of instability.
- Main Advantages – Arthroscopic surgery for baseball shoulder injuries offers several key benefits: it minimizes tissue disruption, provides precise diagnosis and treatment, and leads to faster recovery times. The minimally invasive approach results in less post-operative pain, smaller scars, and a lower risk of infection. This makes it an excellent choice for both athletes seeking to return to their sport swiftly, and individuals looking to regain their shoulder function, manage pain, and increase mobility.
At AOSMI, our team is committed to providing the highest quality orthopedic and physical therapy care to our patients across New Jersey. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, or any of the symptoms explained above, please request an appointment today. We are dedicated to helping you live a healthier, stronger life.