Do you or a loved one participate in a sport that requires repetitive throwing and swinging motions?
In sports such as these, it is common to experience injuries to the upper extremities. Such injuries are common in athletes, and they can affect the hand, arm, elbow, or shoulder. Fortunately, at Austin Manual Therapy Associates, we can provide you with the proper throwing mechanics needed for your sport of choice, in order to lower the risk of sustaining an upper extremity injury.
Common upper extremity injuries
Upper extremity injuries typically fall under one of two categories: acute or overuse. Acute injuries are caused by a single specific incident, such as a strain or tear. Overuse injuries are caused by excessive repetitive movements over time.
Some of the most common types of upper extremity injuries include:
While this term is colloquially referred to as “tennis elbow,” it can also be caused by other sports and activities, including softball, baseball, raking leaves, and even excessive typing on a computer. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that results in inflammation of the tendons in the forearm, making it difficult to lift your arm.
This is another colloquial term, used to describe an overuse injury causing muscle inflammation inside the elbow. It is also sometimes referred to as “Little Leaguer’s Elbow.” This injury runs from the bony point of your elbow and can stretch down your forearm, making it difficult to extend or lift your arm. Sports and activities that generally result in golfer’s elbow include golf, baseball, softball, bowling, and gardening.
This is an overuse injury that causes swelling in the tendons that control your hand movement, making it difficult to bend your fingers and move your hand or elbow. Flexor tendonitis is typically associated with sports that require constant throwing, such as softball, baseball, football, or shot put.
Frozen shoulder can result from either an acute injury or an overuse injury. It occurs when the tissue in your shoulder thickens or scar tissue forms, causing your shoulder to feel as if it’s being “squeezed” and making it difficult to move.
Rotator cuff tear
Rotator cuff tears can occur from either acute or overuse causes, as well. For example, falling on an outstretched arm, sustaining a blow to the shoulder, or partaking in repetitive overhead motions (such as those in swimming, softball, baseball, tennis, or football) can all result in rotator cuff tears. This occurs when the muscles or tendons that surround the shoulder joint become damaged or torn.
Proper throwing mechanics
At our Austin, TX physical therapy clinic, we are happy to say that we offer preventative screening and sports performance enhancement programs, designed to teach the techniques needed in order to prevent injuries.
These programs will teach the patient how to execute the proper techniques for throwing, including, but not limited to:
- Leading with the hips
- Keeping your hand over the top of the object being thrown
- Keeping the elbow up during the acceleration phase
- Closing the shoulder when accelerating the throw
- Moving the leading foot towards “home”
Another important part of injury prevention is understanding proper warmup drills. We will also teach these to the patient, which they will be able to use before each game. While throwing mechanics obviously focus heavily on the arms, we will also provide warmups focusing on the trunk and legs, as these are also important parts of the body involved in the throwing process.
Sport-specific throwing drills will also help you clearly understand the proper technique when throwing and will enhance your muscle memory of those proper mechanics.
Ready to get started?
If you or a loved one participates in a sport that requires constant throwing or swinging, our Austin, TX physical therapists can provide assistance for injury prevention. Request an appointment with Austin Manual Therapy Associates today!