Treating the Thrower's Shoulder

Kate A. Heinlein, MD; Daryl C. Osbahr, MD

Disclosures

Curr Orthop Pract. 2015;26(2):105-112. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Treating a throwing athlete can be difficult, and success demands a thorough understanding of biomechanical principles and common physiological throwing adaptations. Throwing athletes require a combination of laxity and stability to achieve optimal performance, and disruption of this delicate balance can lead to injury. In this review article, we present the unique considerations relating to the throwing athlete and shoulder. Current concepts in throwing biomechanics, along with anatomic and physiologic adaptations of the thrower's shoulder, are reviewed. Common pathology also is discussed, including internal impingement, rotator cuff tears, labral tears, glenohumeral internal rotation deficit, and scapular dyskinesis. Our preferred treatment techniques and existing data on returning these athletes to competitive play are presented.

Introduction

Treating the throwing athlete can be challenging and requires a thorough knowledge of biomechanical principles and physiological throwing adaptations to properly diagnose and treat abnormalities when they arise. Throwing athletes require a combination of laxity and stability to achieve optimal performance, and disruption of this balance can lead to injury. In this paper, we examine the unique considerations relating to the throwing athlete and shoulder, including throwing biomechanics, pathophysiology, clinical evaluation, and treatment options.

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