What is Thrower’s Shoulder?
A throwing athlete is an athlete that repetitively uses the “throwing” motion throughout their games, workouts or trainings. Baseball players, swimmers, basketball players and more are all affected by thrower’s shoulder. Thrower’s shoulder, also known as “little league shoulder” is an overuse injury to the upper arms (humerus) growth plates caused by the repetitive throwing motion. The term “little league” is coined because athletes between the ages of 8 to 12 are most susceptible to this injury. Below, we will go over everything you need to know about this injury.
How is Thrower’s Shoulder Injury Sustained?
A thrower’s shoulder injury is sustained through repetitive “throwing” motions that stress the humerus near the shoulder and widen the growth plate. This results in swelling and pain in the shoulder, most common in players aged 8-12. The most common contributors to thrower’s shoulder are pitching and throwing without the proper technique and mechanics, overusing the shoulder and not resting between pitching, and lack of upper back and shoulder strength to support proper throwing.
Symptoms of Thrower’s Shoulder
There are some common symptoms of little league shoulder to be on the lookout for. Pain and weakness in the shoulder when completing the throwing motion are the most common symptoms. For any young athlete, pain and or weakness when performing a repetitive motion should always be addressed with a medical professional immediately. Your child may not want to admit they are in pain, but thrower’s shoulder will cause the athlete to change the way they are throwing to avoid the pain. This will of course change the effectiveness of their throwing and if not treated correctly may lead to additional injuries. The next important step is to seek the assistant of a sports medicine specialist.
Treatment for Thrower’s Shoulder
Following assessment by Dr. Roger Chams and diagnosis confirmation by x-ray or MRI, treatment will begin. Initially, treatment for Little League Shoulder or Thrower’s Shoulder will involve rest. Sometimes, if painful enough, immobilization with the use of a sling may be required. As pain improves, therapeutic exercises will begin either with a certified athletic trainer or physical therapist. Prior to returning to pitching, the athlete will complete a throwing program to make sure he or she is pain free and utilizing proper throwing mechanics and techniques.
It is important to work with an orthopedist specialized in treating thrower’s shoulder/little league shoulder in young children to ensure that a complete recovery can be made.
Get Thrower’s Shoulder Treatment Today
If your child is suffering with shoulder pain, instruct them to rest and then schedule an appointment with Dr. Roger Chams today. Dr. Chams has specialized experience working with the shoulder, and has specifically treated many young athletes dealing with thrower’s shoulder. Dr. Chams will help treat the area and can advise on proper throwing techniques to strengthen the arm, back and shoulder for an injury-free season. We look forward to helping you treat pesky throwing injuries in Illinois!