Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shoulder Joint Injury Preventing Tips for Baseball and Softball Pitchers

Softball pitchers face some of the same potential injuries as baseball players, especially if they use the fast pitch method. This requires rotation of the arm to throw the ball. Poor technique can lead to tearing connective tissue in the shoulder, and this will be painful. If you feel discomfort in your shoulder during or after games, have a doctor evaluate the damage and provide treatment options.
The Shoulder Joint
The complex structure of the shoulder joint can make it vulnerable to injury, especially for those who must throw during a game. Included in the shoulder anatomy are three distinctive joints and one articulation. An articulation is a joint that is moveable, not fixed. One key component of the shoulder-prone to injury is the rotator cuff. This is a collection of four muscles that provide stability to the bony structures that make up the shoulder. Damage to any of these elements can lead to pain for a softball pitcher.
Windmill Pitching Technique
In some forms of softball, the pitcher uses a windmill technique to propel the ball. This requires that the arm rotate 360 degrees and can lead to cumulative tissue damage known as an overuse injury. That might include tearing of the bicep or rotator cuff muscles. Once an injury occurs, the arm will require treatment to help the connective tissue heal. Continuing to throw with an overuse injury, especially with the windmill technique, can cause further damage that may require surgery to repair.
Providing immediate first aid to the shoulder at the onset of pain can help reduce inflammation and stiffness. Apply ice as soon as the pain begins. Keep the ice bag in place for at least 20 minutes. Reapply ice three to four times a day for the next three days. It may be necessary to immobilize the arm with a sling to stabilize the shoulder. You also might need an over-the-counter pain medication until the discomfort subsides. If the shoulder feels or looks out of place, see a doctor immediately. Above all, avoid playing softball until your doctor or trainer tells you that it is OK to start pitching again.
Improper technique can lead to overuse injuries. If you feel pain in your shoulder after pitching, talk to your coach about your method. You may require additional training to help improve your technique and avoid injury. The trainer may want you to perform exercises to strengthen the muscles in your shoulder. If you have pain during a game, stop pitching. Pain is a warning from your body about a problem. Ignoring that warning may lead to further damage.

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