My Shoulder Hurts!

Those are words that I’m sure most coaches and parents have cringed at if they have been around the game for awhile! One of the most common problems that plagues softball players and hinders their ability to perform at their best is shoulder pain. Nearly every aspect of the game puts stress in the shoulder in some way. Throwing, swinging, and diving can all put the shoulder at risk for injury. Shoulder pain can be caused by a wide number of things such as: muscle tightness, tendinitis, impingement, muscle strains, and bad posture just to name a few. So, what do you do to fix shoulder pain? That’s what I hope to help you with over the next few posts. There is not one answer to solve the complex issue of shoulder pain. But, there are key things you can do to help prevent shoulder pain, and limit its effect if you’re already starting to deal with it.

A great way to help address or prevent shoulder pain is to know what muscles to stretch in​ your warm up! Certain structures are typically tight for most people across the board, and even more so in throwing athletes. Most young women that participate in fastpitch have some sort of stretching routine they go through before they play or practice. That’s a great start, but I recommend making sure you aren’t forgetting a few key muscles….

1.    Biceps

The biceps muscle can often be the culprit of shoulder pain when the cause is overuse. I’ve seen many a softball player suffer through biceps tendonitis. It’s not fun! Here’s an easy way to stretch the biceps muscle.

Grab the fence with one hand, then walk forward until your arm is straight back behind you. The stretch should be felt in the bicep muscle, not the front of the shoulder

2. Pectoralis Muscles

In most people, the pectoralis major and minor muscles are naturally tight due to our everyday activities. Most of us have bad posture, and don’t stand up straight like our moms told us too. So now it’s time to stretch those pecs!

Use a doorway or the end of a fence. Place your forearm on the doorway and then move your body forward. A stretch should be felt in the front of your shoulder.

3. Lats (​Latissimi dorsi))

The latissimi dorsi muscle, more commonly known as the “lats” are responsible for many movements of the shoulder. So don’t forget to stretch it!

Grab the fence with both hands, then sit back like you’re trying to pull the fence. Then lean to each side.