Could Your Throwing Injury be Traced to your Lower Body?
Did you know it can be common for shoulder and arm pain to be misdiagnosed as a throwing injury when the root cause is actually in the knees, hips, core or legs? Are you an athlete who throws, such as a baseball pitcher, football quarterback, volleyball player, or shot-putter? If so, you’re probably no stranger to the shoulder and arm pain or discomfort that can come with these types of sports injuries. But did you know that the pain you’re experiencing in your shoulders and arms might actually be caused by muscles in your lower body not engaging properly?
It’s true! In fact, many throwing sports injuries that cause shoulder and arm pain can be traced back to problems with the lower extremities. In this blog post we take a closer look at why this is the case. So before you rest, tape and/or ice a throwing arm (all things we do NOT advise), make sure you're taking the whole body into consideration. Contact the physical therapists at Breaking Through to identify the root cause of your sports injury.
Sports Rehab for Throwing Injury: Understanding the Kinetic Chain
In throwing sports, a complex sequence of movements is required to throw an object with maximum force and accuracy. This sequence is known as the kinetic chain, and it involves a series of movements that originate in the legs and travel up through the torso and arms.
Each stage in the kinetic chain depends on the previous stage. For example, a powerful throw requires a strong push off of the ground with the legs. This push generates energy that travels up through the body and is eventually released through the arm.
Issues with any portion of this chain can affect the entire sequence, leading to reduced power and accuracy and an increased risk of injury.
How Can Injuries to the Lower Body Lead to Throwing Injuries, Shoulder and Arm Pain?
So how do lower extremity injuries lead to shoulder and arm pain in throwing sports? It’s all about compensation.
When an athlete suffers an injury in one part of the body, the body will often compensate by using other muscle groups to perform the desired action. This compensation can lead to overuse injuries in the muscles being utilized to make up for the injured area.
For example, if an athlete has a knee injury that is causing them to compensate by leaning to one side when they throw, they may end up overusing their shoulder and arm muscles to generate the necessary force. This overuse can lead to pain, inflammation, and eventually injury in the shoulder and arm.
Finding the Root Cause of Each Throwing Injury
At Breaking Through, every assessment includes a full body assessment which allows us to identify the root cause of your pain. Identifying which muscle is not engaging, and causing the compensation, is part of The One80 patented system of evaluation.
We find that many of our throwing athletes with arm pain have dysfunction rooted in a lower extremity. Treatment to the root cause of the lower extremity often results in quick elimination of pain and a quick return to function and power with their throw.
Lower Extremity Injury Prevention
To prevent lower extremity injuries from causing shoulder and arm pain in throwing sports, it’s important to take a holistic approach to injury prevention. This means not only focusing on the shoulder and arm muscles but also the muscles of the core, hips, and legs.
Here are a few tips for injury prevention:
- Warm up properly before throwing.
- Avoid stretching and soft tissue modalities.
- Incorporate strength training exercises that target the lower extremities, such as squats and lunges.
- Focus on proper throwing mechanics to reduce the risk of compensatory movements.
By taking these steps, athletes can help reduce their risk of lower extremity injuries and the shoulder and arm pain that can come with them. So the next time you’re feeling pain in your throwing arm, remember that the root cause might actually be in your legs!
Learn why our physical therapy will get better results in less visits when our doctors of PT work with you INDIVIDUALLY to uncover the root cause of the pain in your shoulder or arm.
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