Finding the optimal balance between mobility and stability is crucial during the rehabilitation process. Restoring normal joint mobility and stability before an athlete returns to play is important for performance and in reducing the risk of future injury.
Keith J. Cronin is a physical therapist and center manager at SSM-Select Physical Therapy in St. Louis, Missouri, where he is currently developing sports injury prevention and coaching education community outreach programs.
Restoring full range of
motion to a joint should be achieved early in physical therapy as playing sports with restricted range of motion increases injury risk and negatively effects athletic performance.
A big difference between the forward range of motion of the throwing and non-throwing shoulder increases injury risk. Here is a simple test to identify such difference and a stretching exercise to keep the shoulder balanced.
A very common, but often overlooked problem with lower leg injuries is that a secondary injury can occur, such as posterior tibialis tendonitis, a painful inflammation and injury along the lower inside part of the leg, ankle, and arch of the foot.
Tears to the medial meniscus require surgical repair, but the repaired meniscus can easily be torn with only small amounts of pressure, so allowing it to fully heal after surgery before walking is critical for a full recovery.
As is true in most sports these days, softball pitchers are training - or over-training - more than ever, and more and more are playing the sports all year long without a break. Softball teams may carry only a couple of pitchers, which sometimes results in a pitcher throwing over 1,000 pitches during a weekend tournament! While there hasn't been an epidemic of rotator cuff injuries, other problems to the shoulder and elbow have surfaced with increased play.