There are several sports around the world, including cricket, baseball and softball, that utilise throwing as a key component of the game. The repetitive throwing associated with these sports places the shoulder in extreme positions in combination with tremendous stress. If not properly monitored, this can lead to various injuries at the shoulder, elbow and wrist.
Common Throwing Injuries
Rotator Cuff Injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and facilitating shoulder movement. Overuse or improper throwing mechanics can lead to strains, tears, or inflammation in the rotator cuff, causing pain and restricted shoulder mobility.
Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injuries: UCL injuries commonly affect baseball pitchers. Repetitive stress on the elbow during the throwing motion can lead to partial or complete tears of the UCL. Athletes may experience pain, swelling, and a decrease in throwing performance.
Labral Tears: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket, providing stability to the shoulder joint. Overhead throwing motions can cause labral tears, resulting in shoulder pain, decreased range of motion, and a feeling of instability in the shoulder.
In order to minimise your risk of sustaining a throwing-related injury, there are a few things you can put in place:
- Warm-Up and Stretching – Proper warm-up exercises and stretching before the game or practice session can help prepare the muscles for the strain of throwing.
- Proper Technique and Training – Learning and practising proper throwing techniques can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Coaches should emphasise the importance of correct technique, including proper body and arm mechanics.
- Improve Overall Strength and Conditioning – Building strength in the muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow joints can provide added support and stability. Focus on exercises that target the rotator cuff, shoulder, and arm muscles.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
In the case of a throwing-related injury, seeking early advice from a qualified physiotherapist is essential. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, your physiotherapist will outline a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and deficits. Rehabilitation may include rest, manual therapy, as well as exercise to regain full strength and mobility. It is best to implement a gradual return to throwing and gameplay, to minimise your risk of re-injury and return to full performance.
Return to Throwing Programs
After a break from sport (either due to an off-season or injury) it is important to gradually progress the volume and intensity of your throwing in order to prevent further injury. Your physiotherapist can guide you on a Return to Throwing Program to progress their athletes from no-throwing through to normal training.
While throwing sports can offer many different benefits, knowing the potential risks of these activities is essential. Players can avoid getting hurt by understanding common injuries and implementing preventive strategies. Proper warm-up, technique, conditioning, timely recovery and rehabilitation are vital to enjoying these sports safely and maintaining a healthy shoulder joint long-term.
For specific advice please consult your physiotherapist with an interest in throwing injuries.
Article by Zoe Russell
Sports Physiotherapy FAQs
Sports Physiotherapy is the specialised branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to spokespeople. Practitioners with additional formal training within Australia are Sports & Exercise Physiotherapists.
What is Sports Physiotherapy?
Sports injuries do differ from common everyday injuries. Athletes usually require high-level performance and demands placed upon their bodies, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to the limit. Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from sporting injuries and provide education and resources to prevent problems. Each sports physiotherapist usually has sport-specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries. Their services are generally available to sportsmen and women of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition.
Members of Sports Physiotherapy Australia (SPA) have experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based practice, professional assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and effective hands-on management techniques and exercise protocols to assist recovery and prevent future damage. SPA members have access to the most recent advances in sports physiotherapy. You'll be pleased to know that most PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists are particularly interested in sports injury management.
General Sports Physio FAQs
- Sports Physiotherapy
- Acute Sports Injury Clinics
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Understanding Common Muscle Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide
Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, can result from various causes and can affect different areas of the body. Managing and preventing discomfort requires a clear understanding of these common muscle injuries. This comprehensive guide aims to explore several sources of muscle pain, including injuries in the neck and back, strains in the lower limbs, conditions in the upper limbs, systemic causes, and more.
To provide valuable insights into the management of common muscle injuries, this guide offers answers to frequently asked questions and suggests products that can aid in your recovery. Access additional information about each specific injury by clicking the provided links.
Neck & Back Muscle Injuries
Lower Limb Muscle Injuries
Upper Limb Muscle Injuries
Systemic Causes of Myalgia
More Information: Myalgia
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Common Ligament Injuries
Ligament injuries are common in the human body, often causing pain, discomfort, and limitations in mobility.
Various body parts are prone to ligament injuries, such as the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, hand, and spine. Among the most prevalent are knee ligament injuries, which include ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries, as well as MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) sprains.
In addition, ligament injuries can affect other areas, such as the shoulder, leading to AC (Acromioclavicular) joint injuries and dislocated shoulders. Wrist and hand ligament injuries, including thumb and finger sprains, are also common. Furthermore, ligament injuries can occur in the spine, resulting in back and neck sprains and conditions like "text neck" and whiplash. Understanding these common ligament injuries is essential for prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment, enabling individuals to regain their functionality and resume their daily activities.
Knee Ligament Injuries
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- MCL Sprain
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