Are you an athlete who participates in sports that involve throwing overhead? If so, you may be at risk of developing a throwing shoulder injury. When one structure within the joint becomes weakened from stress or overuse, the other structures compensate to handle the load, leading to joint pain, stiffness and damage. Shoulder specialist Doctor Benedict Nwachukwu provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, New York City, NY who have developed a shoulder injury. Contact Dr. Nwachukwu’s team today!
What are throwing injuries in the shoulder?
Overhead athletes throw repeatedly at a high rate of speed. These throwing activities can place a large amount of stress on the shoulder structures that keep the humeral head firmly in place within the glenoid socket. If one of these structures such as ligaments, tendons or cartilage experiences weakness or damage, throwing shoulder injuries occur. Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic shoulder specialist, serving patients in Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs specializes in throwing shoulder injuries. Dr. Nwachukwu is able to diagnose and treat sports and work-related injuries, helping patients get back to the activities they love.
Who might have a throwing shoulder injury?
Dr. Nwachukwu has extensive experience caring for athletes, he has been a Team Physician for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, and DePaul Athletics and is an Associate Medical Director for the National Basketball Association (NBA). Dr Nwachukwu has diagnosed and treated a number of throwing shoulder injuries. Athletes most susceptible to a throwing injury are overhead athletes, specifically baseball pitchers, volleyball and tennis players, basketball players and football quarterbacks.
Baseball players, especially pitchers, frequently experience shoulder pain. This is most often due to injury in the bones or ligaments and other structures within the shoulder joint. When a throwing athlete sets their arm into motion, there are five stages: wind-up, early cocking, late cocking, acceleration and follow-through. The two motions most responsible for shoulder damage are late cocking and follow-through because of the amount of stress on the shoulder joint during those motions. When one structure within the joint becomes weakened from stress or overuse, the other structures compensate to handle the load, leading to joint pain, stiffness and damage.
What are the symptoms of throwing shoulder injuries?
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of injury within the shoulder joint. The most common injuries are:
- Pain during activity, especially when lifting or lowering the arm
- Weakness in the shoulder
- Popping or grinding sensation
- Pain at night or at rest when lying on the injured shoulder
- Decreased range of motion
How are shoulder injuries from throwing diagnosed?
Dr. Nwachukwu will obtain a thorough patient history and discuss activities that contributed to the painful symptoms. He will conduct a physical examination, test shoulder stability and strength as well as range of motion and level of pain. An x-ray and/or MRI scan may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and identify any additional shoulder problems.
What is the treatment for a throwing shoulder injury?
For many patients in the New York area, the initial treatment for a throwing shoulder injury is non-surgical. Treatment options may include:
- Change in activity – Avoiding or modifying the activity that caused the injury
- Ice – Applying ice to the shoulder to reduce inflammation
- NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy – Strengthens muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and improves range of motion
- Corticosteroid injection – Injected into the joint, helps with swelling and pain.
Several factors will contribute to the joint decision between the patient and Dr. Nwachukwu to undergo surgical treatment. The patient’s age, activity and desired outcome as well as patient’s health and underlying injuries will be carefully considered. A few of the treatment options for throwing shoulder injuries are:
- Arthroscopic surgery – Minimally invasive surgical technique using a small surgical camera and small surgical instruments. Arthroscopic surgery is the preferred method for threating throwing shoulder injuries.During arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Nwachukwu will repair damage to soft tissues including the labrum, rotator cuff or the ligaments.
- Open surgery – Utilizes a slightly larger incision for Dr. Nwachukwu to visualize the injury and complete repairs. Open surgery is reserved for shoulders with extensive injury – especially multiple soft-tissue damage.
For more information on throwing shoulder injuries and to have your sports related injury evaluated please contact the office of Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and surrounding New York boroughs, for your treatment options.