The rotator cuff is comprised of the supraspinatus, teres minor, infraspinatus and the subscapularis. The rotator cuff injuries cause irritation or damage to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. One of the usual causes of injuries to the rotator cuff is constant overhead arm movement such as throwing in baseball. The pitchers are prone to rotator cuff injuries and must take the necessary steps to minimize the likelihood of injuries.
Bursitis and tendinitis
The rotator cuff tendons become swollen as a result of overuse and overload, particularly among athletes such as baseball players who engage in repetitive overhead activities. Rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis can develop once the rotator cuff tendons end up with irritation of the base of the acromion. It is still not clear what causes the inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons.
It is important to note that there are certain anatomical features such as a hooked acromion that can predispose baseball players to develop rotator cuff tendinitis. In some cases, the humerus might ride up and pinch the cuff.
Strain or tear
A baseball player who sustains an acute case of rotator cuff injury might feel an abrupt tearing sensation in the shoulder that is followed by evident pain all over the arm and diminished shoulder range of motion due to muscle spasm or pain.
Those who suffer from chronic rotator cuff tear that develops over an extended period can end up with progressively deteriorating pain in the shoulder that is intense at night time. Eventually, the individual could no longer lift the arm away from the body without help. Rotator cuff tears occur once shoulder tendinitis can cause significant wearing of the rotator cuff tendons. Since the tendon functions as a link between the rotator cuff muscles and the humerus, once the integrity is affected, it leads to shoulder weakness. Even though tears often occur among baseball players who have a history of shoulder pain, tears can occur to any player regardless of their injury status.
Instability of the shoulder occurs once the head of the humerus is forced out of its socket. This is also one of the common rotator cuff injuries during baseball. It is important to note that shoulder instability is often due to abrupt, traumatic injuries. It can also result from overuse of the shoulder ligament which is a likely mechanism of injury among baseball players.
There are two categories of shoulder instability – dislocation and subluxation. When it comes to shoulder dislocations, they occur once the whole head of the humerus slips out of the shoulder socket and usually occurs due to trauma to the shoulder. As for subluxations, it involves either incomplete or partial dislocation of the humerus head from the socket. Remember that even a minor injury can cause a shoulder subluxation injury.