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It only hurts when I throw, why is that?

In many instances athletes with shoulder or elbow pain only experience the pain during their specific sport or a specific movement in their sport.  It may be when a pitcher throws, volleyball player spikes or serves, or when a tennis player hits a shot.  There is an unbelievable amount of stress on the shoulder and elbow during these tasks and people may get pain with them because they put much more stress on them with sports then with day to day activity.

The shoulder complex in overhead sports

Treating an overhead athlete with pain is a unique challenge.  We have to evaluate the most complex joint in the body that is performing the most aggressive motions in sports, such as throwing.  In order to get the best results in rehabilitation of an overhead athlete it is imperative that you work with someone who is an expert in treating this unique group of people.  It is important to not only understand the anatomy and physiology but also the specifics of how the body works during overhead tasks.  Many of these patients will have pain at different points along the arm path and they need to be treated different.

The shoulder complex is made up of three bones, the scapula, humerus, and clavicle.  The region is very mobile and requires a significant amount of muscular control and strength.  The patterning of the muscles around the scapular and shoulder makes it so that the athlete can perform the tasks effectively and safely.  A unique part of working with elite overhead athletes is that they require excessive shoulder motion but enough dynamic control to stabilize the joint.  This can be a tough balance to establish and maintain, but imperative to optimal shoulder function.  Many elite athletes have characteristics of hypermobility which needs to be managed correctly to both protect their joint and improve performance.

Common Conditions

Some common injuries that effect overhead athletes that can be treated with physical therapy:

  • Multidirectional shoulder instability
  • Biceps tendonitis
  • Internal impingement
  • Subacromial impingement
  • Rotator Cuff Strain
  • Growth plate injuries to shoulder and elbow
  • Medial Epicondylitis
  • Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Back pain
  • UCL Repair (Tommy John)
  • SLAP Repair
  • Post operative rehabilitation

Don’t let a dysfunctional shoulder cause pain or decrease performance.

Dr MacDaniel is the owner of MAC Physical Therapy Group and is an expert in the evaluation and treatment of injuries and performance in overhead athletes.  He brings a unique experience, of being a collegiate all-american pitcher and playing independent ball, along with his knowledge and expertise.  At MAC Physical Therapy Group are experienced with non-surgical and post-surgical injuries.  If you are overhead athletes and are experiencing pain call us to schedule an evaluation to develop a treatment plan to return to you sport painfree.

For more information, Contact us at Sterling, VA center.