Shoulder Stretches for Pitchers – Video

Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.  In this video and article, Dr. J. Michael Bennett demonstrates several stretching exercises that can help young pitchers prevent shoulder injuries.  Doctor Bennett serves patients from all over Metro Houston from our clinics in Sugar Land, TX and in Houston, near the Houston Galleria.

This information is for educational purposes only.  It’s not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  You should not start an exercise program or act upon any information provided here without first seeking medical advice from a physician.

The following is a transcript of Dr. Bennett’s video.

A problem I see quite a bit concerns pitchers, who commonly have problems with their shoulders.  One of the issues we see in a lot of the young pitchers is something called internal impingement and actually that can lead to further problems such as tears in the labrum or tears in the biceps up top.  This can actually be largely prevented by identifying it early, by looking at that pitcher’s range of motion and determining that they have an imbalance in that shoulder.  So it’s always important in a physical exam when you’re evaluating a patient to look at their abduction and external rotation, this position [demonstrates the movement].  Most pitchers, if this is their pitching arm, have excessive external rotation which gives them more torque in their throw.  At the same time they have less internal rotation.  And when you compare one side to the other side, and their internal rotation on the right side is here, and their left side is here, that’s obviously a discrepancy.  So that’s an imbalance of the shoulder and it’s a red flag that there may be a problem and it’s something to work on immediately to prevent further injury later on.

Capsule of shoulder-joint (distended). Anterio...
Capsule of shoulder-joint (distended). Anterior aspect. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the key with this is some of the exercises that we mentioned before – strengthening exercises for the shoulder.  In addition it’s important to incorporate a stretching program, particularly focusing on the posterior capsule of the shoulder joint; that’s the lining of the ball socket mechanism of the shoulder joint.  Repetitive throwing, particularly in pitchers, will cause laxity in the front and tightness in the back and that creates an imbalance or stresses structures in the shoulder joint which can cause problems.   So what we’re going to talk about today is a couple of stretches you can do to work out the posterior capsule.

One stretch is very basic and it’s when you reach across your body with your arm and you use your other hand to support your elbow, pulling your shoulder across your body.  Hold for a count of ten seconds, relax, and then do it again.  That works out that posterior capsule.  The other exercise for the posterior capsule requires you to lie on the floor.  It’s called a sleeper stretch, and let me go ahead and show you here about that.  This is my pitching arm, the arm with the posterior capsule that I want to stretch out.  You’re laying on your side and your arm’s at ninety degrees to your body.  Use your other arm, your good arm, to basically grab your wrist, and then pull that arm down and hold it for a count of ten.  You’re going to pull it down and that’s going to stretch out that posterior capsule and help ensure you maintain balance between your shoulders.

So I’ve shown you two basic shoulder stretches for pitchers designed to help the posterior capsule in an effort to balance out the shoulder joint.  Like I said before, make sure you go over this with your physician to make sure you don’t have any underlying issues with the shoulder before you attempt these stretches.  But as far as from a prevention standpoint, young pitchers should do a good stretching program before and after practicing and playing as well as incorporating a strengthening program within the shoulder.  But the key really is early diagnosis and prevention.

Dr. Bennett has offices in Sugar Land and Houston

Doctor J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Sports Medicine Physician with a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in Sports Medicine.   Dr. Bennett’s Sugar Land clinic is at 4690 Sweetwater Blvd., Suite 240, above the Vista Bank.  This office is close to First Colony Mall at the corner of Sweetwater Blvd. and Lexington Blvd.  His Houston Clinic is near the Houston Galleria at 4543 Post Oak Place, Suite 105, co-located with Associates in Medicine.  We accept Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and most other medical health insurance plans. If you have questions about the video or about other sports medicine, please call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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