Monday Memo 6/11/18

The Monday Memo

June 11, 2018                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Play Ball!


Summer is upon us, and that means it is time for outdoor activities such as baseball, softball, and volleyball. A lot of us have been cooped up all winter and are ready to get out there and start playing. Today we will go over the mechanics that contribute to throwing and provide tips on how to make sure you stay safe while performing these activities.


As we know, the stability of the shoulder is due to both active and passive structures such as muscle and bone, respectively. All structures that make up what we consider the shoulder joint contribute to both the stability and mobility of the shoulder. During throwing activities, both are needed. Without proper mobility, one will have trouble initiating and generating enough power for an effective throw. However, with too much mobility, one will not be able to control the motion available. Overhead athletes are known to be more susceptible to instability. Examples of instability include tears of the labrum, rotator cuff, or capsular injuries. Many labral tears that overhead athletes (swimmers, throwers, volleyball players) are susceptible to are due to overuse and can be recurrent.


Lesions can be treated non-surgically and have good results. However, the best way to ensure that it does not impact one’s athletic performance is to prevent these injuries. Whether it is a major league baseball player or a grandfather playing catch, throwing is an activity that involves the entire kinetic chain from the feet to the fingertips. Below is a chart describing abnormalities that may take place in the kinetic chain and the visible effect they may have on the throwing pattern.

Seroyer, ST et al. “The Kinetic Chain in Overhead Pitching: Its Potential Role for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. Sports Health. 2010;2(2):135-146


Below are some tips on how to prevent common throwing injuries to ensure that you stay active all summer long:


  • Single leg stability: An effective throw starts at the feet, ensuring that the thrower has a stable base of support is critical. Working on single leg balance as well as hip abductors, quadriceps, and hamstring strength can ensure that you maintain a stable base during the initial phases of throwing.
  • Core stability: A lot of power involved in throwing comes from the core. The quick rotation that occurs during the stride/ late cocking phase of throwing is critical to generating adequate momentum. Working on abdominal and oblique strength can improve this.
  • Rotator cuff strengthening: The rotator cuff muscles contribute a great deal to stabilizing the shoulder during throwing. Performing internal and external rotation exercises are highly beneficial. However, making sure that you are doing them at 90 degrees of shoulder abduction will translate the best to an overhead throwing activity.




Seroyer, ST et al. “The Kinetic Chain in Overhead Pitching: Its Potential Role for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. Sports Health. 2010;2(2):135-146


Baker CL, Uribe JW, Whitman C. Arthroscopic evaluation of acute initial anterior shoulder dislocations. Am J Sports Med 1990;18(1):25–8.


Bernstein N. The coordination and regulation of movement. London: Pergamon;1967


Special thanks to Adam Popchak, PT, PhD, SCS, whose lectures provided a great deal of information that contributed to this piece. 


-Layne Gable, SPT

June 11, 2018 |

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