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Rush University Medical Center orthopaedic experts examine overhead
Date:4/8/2009

from overhead throwing is one of their more difficult challenges, but shoulder pain most often emanates from one of the following five sources: damaged cartilage, rotator cuff injury, abnormal scapula movement, impingement, and neurovascular disorders.

Injury to cartilage (the labrum), which surrounds the shoulder joint, occurs with trauma to the shoulder joint. Labral tears are among the most common injuries for overhead throwers and generally result from the cocking and acceleration phases of overhead throwing. Cartilage also wears down with age and use.

Damage to the rotator cuff, a term given to the group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder, can lead to tendonitis and muscle tears. Although one specific movement could cause injury to the rotator cuff, this type of injury is often the result of the "wear and tear" from the overhead throwing motion.

The thrower will often complain of diffuse shoulder pain aggravated by overhead activity and will notice weakness and decreased velocity. Night pain down the arm to the elbow is also common. Conditioning and proper throwing techniques is critical in preventing rotator cuff injury as the results of rotator cuff repair surgery have been disappointing in elite throwers.

Scapular (shoulder blade) pain is the result of abnormal scapular movement, malposition and snapping of bursal tissue around the scapula. The scapula provides a stable base for muscles in the shoulder, thus abnormal positioning and movement can force the arm into strenuous positions and lead to decreased motion and rotation or "dead arm" syndrome. Muscle strengthening and conditioning are necessary to keep the scapula in place for an effective overhead throw. Initial treatment for scapular pain is rest, analgesia (pain relievers), and nonsterodial anti-inflammatory drugs.

Impingement results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade as the arm is lifte
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Contact: Kim Waterman
Kimberly_Waterman@rush.edu
312-942-7820
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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