If you are a pitcher, be sure to keep these three tips in mind during baseball season.
Though shoulder injuries can occur in anyone, certain athletes (particularly swimmers, pitchers and tennis players) are at a higher risk for shoulder problems. The pitcher especially, runs the greatest risk of injuries resulting from overuse or improper mechanics. Shoulders are especially vulnerable for a pitcher. Because the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, it is also the most unstable.
The four muscles surrounding the shoulder, called the rotator cuff, are stretched during the acceleration and deceleration of the pitching motion. Bones can shift, leading to damaged ligaments or pinched structures within the shoulder joint. If you are a pitcher, be sure to keep these three tips in mind during baseball season:
- Be mindful of how your body feels. Pain is the first sign of a problem, and athletes of all ages need to pay close attention to any type of muscle twinge, tightening, or burning sensation. If you are experiencing pain, contact your physician for proper monitoring and diagnosis.
- Learn the correct ways to throw. Many pitchers mistakenly focus on making their pitching arm do all of the work instead of making proper use of their legs and torso. Use your legs and torso as the driving force behind your pitch to avoid straining your shoulders.
- If possible, begin a conditioning program at least a month before the season begins. Conditioning and strengthening exercises are most effective after mechanics are learned and put into action.