Off season screening and properly tailored rehabilitation can make a big difference in the health of an athlete’s throwing arm. Throwing exerts a tremendous amount of stress on the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder and elbow, and the velocity encountered when throwing a baseball is actually the fastest velocity in any sport.
Because of these forces, there are certain functional and structural adaptations that the shoulder undergoes in response to the demands of throwing, some of which are protective and others which can lead to injury. The findings from testing can show which adaptations are necessary and those that are disadvantageous and should be corrected through stretching and strengthening.
Research has shown that pitchers lose key ranges of motion over the course of a season, however through appropriate stretching these losses can be prevented. This prevention is vitally important because certain deficits can increase a thrower’s risk of pain and injury.
Our evaluation includes checking several key ranges of motion of the throwing shoulder and comparing those to the non-dominant side, as well as assessing the motion and position of the scapula (shoulder blades), and other important kinetic chain contributors to the throwing motion such as spinal and hip range of motion.
Once these deficits are identified, the athlete will be put on a program of corrective exercises and stretches specifically tailored to them. While there are no guarantees that a thrower won’t sustain an injury, proper conditioning and focused intervention decreases the risk.
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