Rotator Cuff Tendonitis in the Baseball Player: 4 Things you NEED to know.


What’s up guys, my name is Dr. Chris McKenzie,
board certified sports and orthopedic physical therapist for players in Major league baseball,
minor leagues, the NCAA and youth baseball. In part 1 of this video, I’m going to tell
you why rotator cuff tendonitis occurs, so you can continue to throw hard all season
long if you avoid it. Rotator Cup, Rotary Cuff….I’ve heard many
names over the years. It’s called a rotator cuff, and if it gets irritated, it can cause
you weeks on the bench. As you may have gathered, the rotator cuff is responsible for rotating
the shoulder, but its significance to a baseball player like yourself is much more crucial.
The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles; 3 on the back of the shoulder and 1 on the
front. As a baseball player when you get rotator cuff tendonitis, the tendons of those muscles
become irritated because there is too much force going through them. You will usually
get pain down the front, side or back of your arm, and in severe cases the pain can cross
the elbow and go into your wrist and hand. Ok, so what’s the culprit? It’s usually
from one or a combination of 3 things. #1. Overuse- Not giving your body enough time
to rest between bouts of exercise or throwing. Simply put, if you’re eating garbage for
fuel and not getting enough sleep or rest, your body doesn’t have anything to pull
from to help power you in your next game or practice. You end up exerting yourself more,
maybe without even feeling like you are–and this is precisely when injuries occur. #2. Decreased Internal Rotation Range Of Motion
,or GIRD at the shoulder. The back portion of the rotator cuff has to lengthen itself
around the humerus as your arm powers forward during a throw. If you lack the flexibility
in your rotator cuff muscles, or in your joint capsule, these tendons have to stretch beyond
the range they are comfortable in. As you might be able to imagine, when you stretch
something beyond it’s limit, over and over again, under high loads, it’s going to hurt. And #3. Poor eccentric strength and power
production. It’s no secret that most baseball training programs out there make you strength
train the rotator cuff muscles to work concentrically–a muscle shortening action. Now during a pitch
the rotator cuff works eccentrically…meaning the muscles are actively lengthening while
they are still contracting. Another way to think about this is that your arm is being
thrown forward toward the plate getting pulled away from the socket. Your rotator cuff, is
then working to pull your arm back into the socket. If you lack eccentric strength, you
are further prolonging your pain, and setting yourself up for even more problematic injury
in the future. And a special 4th reason why rotator cuff
tendonitis occurs….”in you older athletes out there,” could be because you have a
hooked or curved shaped underside of your acromion, the bone right at the tip of your
shoulder. This bone can dig into and scrape your tendons, causing irritation and all that
non-fun stuff. Now, only surgery can fix that issue and that’s a discussion for another
time. Ok…now we know why rotator cuff tendonitis
occurs in the baseball player. Next week, in part 2 of this video series, I’m going
to show you exactly what you should be doing to get rid of, and prevent rotator cuff tendonitis
from happening again. Leave a comment below and let me know what
you think about this. If you know someone who would benefit from hearing this, please
share it with them. Do you want to know the secret to preventing
baseball elbow pain? Then click here and download my free report: The #1 Exercise to Prevent
Baseball elbow pain before it starts (and get rid of it if you have it) that you can
use immediately.

8 thoughts on “Rotator Cuff Tendonitis in the Baseball Player: 4 Things you NEED to know.

  1. Doc, great video. Can tendinitis also happen to me, I am in my 50s and pitch slow pitch softball and bowl. It's only just started but does not hurt while I'm actually pitching or bowling – only afterward. I get the pain in front and back and have been told its the cuff. I ice it, rest it and it's fine but obviously over-use doesn't help. Thought about giving up the softball before I do some real damage but I enjoy both sports!

  2. Hi, I am not a baseball player, but I have rotator cuff problems. I am an auto detailer and apply and remove wax by HAND. Popping, pain in shoulders , also the inside of elbows inflamed. Would this exercises help me rid of my rotator cuff problems, THANK YOU.

  3. I'm a 62 year old ice hockey player, baseball coach and scuba diver and life long competitive athlete. You name it, I played it. I've had right shoulder pain for three months since the end of ice hockey season. I have full ROM in the shoulder but continue to have pain that radiates to the elbow. Since watching your video, it appears I do have worsening pain the morning after sleeping on the effected shoulder. Three months ago, I could not even sleep even laying on my back as it was very painful. Rolling over on the effected shoulder caused a great deal of pain. Now, I can at least sleep a bit on the shoulder supported by pillows. The most comfortable shoulder position seems to be with my elbow above my shoulder. I've been taking physical therapy as prescribed by my family physician but it's a slow process. I use ice and the band exercises with some good results. A cortisone patch worn for 12 hours was not effective. Iburofen 200 mg x 4 every 12 hours seems to reduce the pain and inflammation but I hate taking meds. I'm working on the issue but older athletes heal a lot slow apparently. I'm trying to be patient (maybe that's why we're called patients)… The pain is reduced by 50% with the PT and hope to have it all resolved soon.

  4. I got a shoulder injury from nursing 4 kids. Laying down, arm over head feeding baby all night. My shoulder still hurts. Hard to throw a ball.

  5. My issue feels like the joint or a nerve, at full rear pulling forward. Its horrible! cant even tennis ball for my dogs anymore.

  6. Don’t have a right scapula. Shoulder pain and some clicking in that shoulder. Pain especially during bench press…..help me get back in the gym.

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