How to Prevent Throwing Injuries

As the 2016 Major League Baseball season begins to wind down, New York Mets fans find themselves preparing for a wild card clash against the San Francisco Giants in the National League Playoffs. The team’s success, however, could likely come down to one key component—its disabled list—where no less than half a dozen team members are currently out of action for disabling arm injuries.

But you don’t have to be a professional baseball player to know that arm and throwing injuries are common in the sport at every level, and even find their way into other forms of competition such as volleyball, tennis, track and field, and other athletics. Yet, while throwing injuries may be common, many times they can be avoided, so here are a few ways you can prevent these types of sports injuries from occurring.

Why Do Throwing Injuries Happen?

The shoulder’s anatomy consists of a ball-and-socket joint where the humerus (upper arm bone) connects to the shoulder blade and collarbone in a rounded socket called a glenoid. Because this type of socket is able to rotate at nearly any angle, it makes it extremely useful in sports where throwing or swinging with precision is absolutely necessary.

Yet despite their flexibility, ball-and-socket joints like those found in the shoulder are well-known for being susceptible to injury, whether through minor separation or dislocation, or from the tearing of connective tissues such as ligaments. These injuries can result from the shoulder being overused, overstressed, or extending the shoulder joint beyond its natural capabilities while throwing, swinging or performing other rotational movements.

Though other types of throwing injuries do occur, including those that affect the elbow and wrist joints, they are often related to stresses emanating from the shoulder, as repetitive movements in the upper arm can cause the lower arm to find ways of dealing with the overload. Nevertheless, whether it’s the shoulder or the elbow that’s being affected, these injuries can be both painful and debilitating to any sports competitor.

How Do I Avoid Throwing Injuries?

Whenever patients come into our office for a throwing injury, one of the first questions we’re asked as Sports Medicine Specialists is how to keep something like this from occurring after rehabilitation. It’s a great question to ask, because as sports medicine practitioners we certainly believe that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

So before starting any throwing activity, here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself ahead of time:

While this list doesn’t cover every scenario you might encounter as an athlete, it does provide some great guidelines on how to keep your body free from throwing injuries in the short- and long-term. For even more tips on how to avoid sports injuries or how to deal with a throwing injury once it’s already occurred, feel free to reach out to one of our team members at an All Sports Physical Therapy location near you.

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