Monday, April 9, 2012

Shoulder Injuries in Athletes
Bradley S. Raphael M.D.
RSM Medical Associates


As spring sports start up (lacrosse, baseball, tennis) so to can shoulder pain.  Shoulder injuries are common in overhead athletes (swimming, tennis, baseball, football), but can also occur in overhead workers.  This is especially true with heavy laborers or jobs which require repetitive overhead activities at work.

Different shoulder problems from overuse:
   -Rotator cuff tears
                -Rotator cuff tendinitis
                -Labral tears
-The shoulder is essentially a ball in socket with less restriction than any other joint in the body.  This allows the shoulder to be the most mobile joint in the body.
                -Rotator cuff is a series of 4 muscles that center the ball on socket during shoulder motion, maximizing the efficiency of shoulder movement.  These can be inflamed with repetitive motion and can make overhead activity painful.
                -The rotator cuff can also become inflamed as it rubs under the color bone and shoulder blade (often described as a “bone spur”)
                -The labrum is made of a thick tissue that rings the shoulder socket and is susceptible to injury with trauma to the shoulder joint. When a patient sustains a shoulder injury, it is possible for the labrum to tear. Some symptoms are an achy sensation to the shoulder joint, catching of the shoulder with movement and pain with specific activities

                -These injuries are often treated with physical therapy, strengthening, stretching, (especially baseball players and other overhead athletes)
                -It’s important to do appropriate warm up before long pitching outings, lacrosse games, tennis matches and overhead work activity in order to prevent injuries.
                -If physical therapy fails, may need an injection to help decrease pain (steroid).
                - These injuries usually respond to conservative measures, but sometimes it can become refractory and may need arthroscopic procedure to clean out bursitis, remove bone spurs or repair the tendons or labrum.
                -Important to follow little league pitching guidelines at young age (
                -Pre-game, pre-work, and pre-activity stretching
                -Hip and core strengthening to alleviate stress on shoulder with your local therapist or athletic trainer.
                -See your doctor as soon as you start having soreness that doesn’t go right away, because it could be the sign of something more serious

Bradley S. Raphael M.D. completed his sports medicine training in Los Angeles at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic and is in practice at RSM Medical Associates where he specializes in Shoulder and Knee problems. He is also a team physician for Syracuse University Athletics.  For appointments or questions: 315-701-4024 or on the web at

1 comment:

  1. Such a nice and informative post! Great share -thanks!