Shoulder Injuries Are Serious Business

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To help understand what happens, I recommend a post called baseball Players and their Shoulder injuries, Doctors Champ L. Baker Jr and Andrew W. Ayers. Here are a couple of excerpts that provide some insight.

"“. . . the shoulder ball (humeral head) fits loosely in the socket (glenoid) and is unrestricted, much like a golf ball on a tee. The farther one is able to bring the arm back into abduction (raised away from the side of the body) and external rotation, the faster the ball will go when released. . ."

That sounds like the job description of a pitcher and what most strive to do. There’s a downside to maximizing they velocity however.

"“. . . (that movement) also forces a reliance on relatively weak soft-tissue structures to maintain shoulder stability. These . . .feel the greatest stress during the throwing motion and are, therefore, the most frequently injured . . .”"

Let’s simplify that.

The movement of the shoulder is described (in the Crasnik piece and many others) as similar to taking a piece of hemp rope and pulling it back and forth across the corner of a table. Every movement causes the rope to fray and heat up. In the shoulder that’s inflammation of the rotator cuff or tendonitis.

Everyone’s rotator cuff frays, but pitchers – and quarterbacks, those who throw the javelin and others using the motion often – are likely to see the tendonitis recur and eventually see the cuff will tear.

Repetitive high stress movement may also cause damage to the labrum – stabilizing cartilage surrounding the shoulder socket and makes the shoulder joint loose. There are divergent opinions on whether it’s damage to the labrum or extra stress on the ligaments that cause loosening of the joint. Whatever its cause, the shoulder joint is never going to be tight again.

In other words, if your shoulder has become an issue it will always be an issue.  Exercise may mitigate it, your body may be able to adapt and allow you to continue in spite of it, but the shoulder will always be weaker.