Types of shoulder injuries commonly seen in adolescent throwing athletes (8-18 years of age) include a dislocated shoulder and rotator cuff injury. Below you will find descriptions of these common injuries, the “why” behind them, and how you can help your young athlete prevent future injury.
A shoulder dislocation occurs when the two bones of the shoulder separate/become displaced. This happens commonly in young athletes with greater amounts of flexibility. These high levels of joint flexibility, sometimes called laxity, are commonly seen in young athletes because their bodies have not yet fully developed. When the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint are too flexible, dislocation can occur. The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles that assist in keeping the shoulder stable and intact. These muscles surround the shoulder joint and engage during throwing motions. Rotator cuff tears commonly happen when athletes are over the recommended throws per day for their age range, throwing when increasingly fatigued, and/or throwing too many days in a row.
These injuries do not sound fun, right? Well, here are a few tips to help prevent your athlete from these types of trauma.