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Baseball Players Beware of These Warning Signs of Shoulder Problems

Baseball Players Beware of These Warning Signs of Shoulder Problems

Baseball is a pastime that challenges players’ throwing arms. When you frequently play baseball, whether at a community park or as part of a professional, semi-professional, or college-level team, it’s essential to pay attention to your arm and shoulder health.

The team at Twin Palm Orthopedics in sunny Ocala, Florida, provides year-round care to baseball fanatics of all ages. Here are some of the warning signs of baseball-related shoulder issues and injuries.

How baseball stresses your shoulder

Your shoulder uses a sophisticated ball-and-socket joint to provide an expansive range of motion and high degree of flexibility. Stabilizers in the joint, like your rotator cuff muscles, labrum, and shoulder capsule ligaments, help keep it all together.

A trained baseball player can use shoulder control to send a ball with the right speed, trajectory, and spin. But, when you pitch, your shoulder joint experiences a lot of pressure. And, as an infielder or outfielder, you throw the ball around a lot, putting your shoulder joint under repetitive stress.

Therefore, playing baseball can result in a range of shoulder problems. These include rotator cuff injuries, ligament or soft tissue tears, and strains and sprains.

Warning signs to watch out for

If you’re developing a repetitive stress injury affecting your shoulder, watch for the warning signs. Without prompt care and treatment, stress injuries worsen and require more extensive and time-consuming rehabilitation, keeping you off the field.

Rotator cuff tendinitis and tears

The rotator cuff controls the rotational motion of your shoulder joint, which is essential for throwing. Rotator cuff injuries, like rotator cuff tears or tendinitis, are common among baseball players due to overwork and repetitive stress.

Watch out for early signs and symptoms of rotator cuff issues, like pain felt radiating from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm when throwing and while at rest. As the condition progresses, you might experience nighttime pain and lose strength in the affected arm.

SLAP tears

The superior labrum anterior to posterior (SLAP) can tear. Warning signs include a locking or catching sensation, pain when you move your shoulder joint, and pain deep inside your shoulder.

Tendon tears and biceps tendinitis

When you pitch, your upper biceps tendon takes lots of wear-and-tear. Sometimes it will fully tear. Irritation of your biceps tendon is known as biceps tendinitis.

If you’re over-stressing your biceps tendons, you can tell due to pain felt in the front of the shoulder and arm weakness. If you experience a tendon tear, you may hear a snapping noise and will feel a sharp pain in your upper arm.

Scapular Rotation Dysfunction (SICK Scapula)

The scapula, or shoulder blade, connects to your collarbone and relies on your upper back muscles to help stay in position. For baseball players, repeated throwing can affect these muscles, shifting the scapula out of alignment and creating a risk for a shoulder injury.

You can tell you’re at risk of SICK if the affected shoulder starts noticeably drooping, or if you feel pain near your collarbone in the front part of the affected shoulder. You may also notice that your chest muscles tighten up as a result of SICK.

Shoulder instability

If the head of your humerus bone dislocates from your shoulder socket, it can become a chronic issue known as chronic shoulder instability. This chronic condition develops due to repetitive throwing stress that stretches ligaments. 

The first warning signs of this condition are a loss of throwing power and shoulder pain. You might also feel like the connected arm loses life, as if you have a dead arm.

Preventing and treating sports-related shoulder injuries

At Twin Palm Orthopedics, we understand what it means to push your body to the limit for your sport. But we also know how to keep you in optimal condition for years to come. You may benefit from our minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy to diagnose or repair sports injuries.

If you’re concerned about the symptoms of a potential shoulder injury, contact our team of orthopedics experts today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment over the phone or book online now.

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