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May 07, 2007

Rotator Cuff and Baseball

When you hear rotator cuff injury, what comes to mind? Typically a pitcher for your local team will have been recently placed on the disabled list. Most recently Orlando Hernandez and Jaret Wright are two of the big names on their respective team’s disabled list. This is not a problem restricted to baseball players, but they are particularly susceptible to it, given the throwing motion and how that impacts the upper part of the shoulder.

Essentially, they have something called impingement syndrome and this leads to rotator cuff tendonitis. It is also called the weekend warrior syndrome. This can be exasperated by playing basketball, by serving a tennis ball, by throwing a football. It is routine to feel somewhat sore after increased activity; particularly as one ages, but if routine movements such as turning off the alarm clock or reaching on the top shelf become painful, you need attention. Most of the time rotator cuff tendonitis can be healed and managed with physical therapy and full activity can be restored.

Occasionally, steroid injections are needed and more rarely than that , surgery is recommended. The critical aspect is to treat this problem early before there is major scarring or rotator cuff tears. Keep in mind that 90% of all rotator cuff tears are the original result of chronic inflammation. It is essentially something that starts small and gets progressively more difficult. If the shoulder is hurting, medical attention should be sought more quickly rather than less.

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