Shoulder Throwing Injuries

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An Overview on Shoulder Throwing Injuries

The overhead throwing motion places a lot of stress on the shoulder joint, especially the structures that keep the joint stable. When athletes continue to perform overhead movements for an extended period of time, throwing injuries can occur. Common shoulder injuries in the throwing athlete include SLAP tears, rotator cuff tears and impingement syndrome leading to shoulder pain and dysfunction. Orthopedic shoulder specialist, Dr. Jervis Yau is highly trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating a variety of overhead throwing injuries in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California patients.

Throwing injuries in the overhead athlete are commonly seen in baseball, tennis, volleyball and certain track and field events. These injuries are caused by excessive stress being placed during throwing on certain shoulder structures that keep the humeral head centered in the glenoid socket.

There are five stages to the pitching motion – wind-up, early cocking, late cocking, acceleration and follow-through. The late cocking and follow-through phases place the most amount of stress on the shoulder joint. When one structure within the joint becomes weakened from overuse and stress, other structures must compensate and often leads to progressive weakness and pain.

Shoulder Throwing Injury Symptoms

Throwing injuries range in symptoms depending on the type of injury. The most common symptoms are shoulder pain, weakness, stiffness, instability and decreased range of motion.

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Shoulder Throwing Injury Diagnosis

Dr. Yau diagnoses throwing injuries in the overhead athlete by performing a history and physical examination. During the physical examination, Dr. Yau will look at range of motion, stability and strength of the shoulder joint. X-rays, MRI and CT scan may also be obtained to identify and confirm the diagnosis.

Shoulder Throwing Injury Treatment

It is critical throwing injuries are treated as quickly as possible so they do not progress into more severe, complex shoulder conditions.

Non-Surgical

The majority of patients will begin treatment without surgery. Dr. Yau commonly prescribes rest, ice, activity modifications, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy aimed at strengthening the joint and improving range of motion. Occasionally, a corticosteroid injection may be given for symptom relief and to help facilitate physical therapy.

Surgical

If shoulder pain and other symptoms are not alleviated with conservative measures, Dr. Yau may recommend a surgical treatment. The type of surgery performed will depend on several factors, such as age, injury type and severity. Many throwing injuries requiring surgery can be treated through an arthroscopic approach. During the minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Yau will identify and repair the damaged tissues.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain caused by throwing injuries, please contact Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic shoulder specialist in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.

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