Most Common Throwing Injuries

Two Shoulder injuries, Dr. Kevin Crawford, lubbock sports medof the more common injuries caused by the mechanics (or more specifically, improper mechanics) of throwing are to the rotator cuff that causes instability to the shoulder, and also to the elbow.  The rotator cuff is vitally important to maintaining the shoulder joint in its correct position, as well as sustaining the strength of the shoulder. Extending from the shoulder blade to cover the shoulder joint, the rotator cuff is comprised of four large muscles.

Over-throwing in repetition or in intensity can cause irritation to the rotator cuff or its bursa. Such exertion in throwing can pinch the rotator cuff of bursa, especially if the shoulder is already weak or inflamed.

Treatment for an inflamed or irritated shoulder often involves rehab exercises and stretches that are specifically designed for athletic throwers, as well as to temporarily reduce throwing activity. Sports medicine may also call for an analysis and retraining of proper throwing mechanics. If conventional, PRP, or regenerative medicine is ineffective, then surgery may be called for.  However, new surgery techniques may offer effective non-invasive options.

Another typical shoulder injury that can be caused by repeated, hard throws is to the labrum, a key cartilage of the shoulder socket.  Heavy stress to the shoulder can cause the labrum to tear away from the socket, causing "popping", pain, and a general sense of looseness in the affected shoulder.  Although, rehabilitation can help ease the symptoms, surgery is often required.   Non-invasive surgery to repair the labrum may prove highly effective.

Improper throwing mechanics can also cause irritation, tendon swelling, and aching pain of the elbow. Generally, this ailment responds well to icing, rest, and developing proper throwing mechanics. On occasion, throwers can tear their UCL, or "Tommy John Ligament". This is a serious injury, which often requires reconstructive surgery.

An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of treatment.  Correct throwing mechanics, stretching, and proper warm-ups are keys to avoiding these common throwing injuries. Be smart, don't overdue it, learn proper throwing techniques, and seek professional medical advise should any flareups occur. 


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Disclaimer:  This information is provided as an educational service, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.  Anyone seeking seeking specific medical advice or assistance should consult his or her doctor or orthopedic surgeon.