What is recommended to reduce shoulder overuse injuries in baseball?

Shoulder girdle health can be maintained by employing a regular flexibility and strength training routine. Using a foam roller to increase extensibility of the pectoral (pecs) and latissimus dorsit (lats) muscles as well as static stretches will help with optimal pain-free range of motion. Strength training should include isolated exercises for rotator cuff strength and scapular stability such as internal and external shoulder rotation, scaption, and prone ball combos I and II. Finally, total-body exercises that stress posterior chain control such as a squat to row can be beneficial.

The best prevention to guard against shoulder overuse injuries in baseball is optimum pitching and throwing mechanics, utilizing the whole body to deliver the ball. Developing the optimal throwing motion, especially at an early age, will help protect the shoulder/arm, particularly the vulnerable four rotor cuff muscles (teres minor, infraspinatus, subscapularis, supraspinatus).

It is essential in the pitching/throwing motion, to get the humerus bone (upper arm) rotating horizontally in the glenohumeral joint (connecting the shoulder and arm), with the back of the ball hand facing or nearly facing the back of your head in the throwing position, before delivering the baseball. 

Maintaining an effective strengthening, stretching, throwing and arm care program will promote shoulder/arm health and also increase your performance. For pitchers, along with optimum pitching mechanics, monitoring pitch counts, appropriate rest between pitching appearances, bullpen sessions, and a 20 minutes post pitching run with arm swinging, are valuable tools for shoulder/arm protection. 

I also recommend before pitching/throwing, pulling horizontally on a thera band for 30 seconds, 2 to 3 sets, to get the shoulder glenohumeral joint synovial fluid activate for use.

Working with a knowledgeable pitching instructor and an elite sharecare/NASM Opt trainer is an investment that will prove invaluable to your baseball health, performance, and career.

Remember when pitching/throwing with poor mechanics and bad form, you are creating a repetitive injury situation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.