Return to Throwing after Shoulder or Elbow Injury
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Purpose of review
Throwing places high demands on the human body, and specific characteristics are developed over time unique to these athletes. When returning to throw after injury, it is important to follow a criterion-based progression that allows the body to be prepared appropriately for the stresses that throwing will require. There is currently a void in the literature for criteria-based progression that helps these athletes return to the highest level of play.
As injury rates continue to rise in baseball, there is increased evidence showing contributions of the core and lower extremity to the baseball pitch. There is also additional data showing pitcher specific characteristics such as range of motion and scapular position in this unique population. The rehab professional should take into account every phase of the pitch starting from balance through ball release when designing a comprehensive return-to-throwing program.
Returning an athlete back to a throwing sport can be an overwhelming task. The rehabilitation specialist must have a sound understanding of the throwing motion as well as any biomechanical implications on the body, contributions throughout the kinetic chain, range of motion, and strength characteristics specific to the thrower as well as proper tissue loading principles. It is important that these athletes are not progressed too quickly through their programs and that a criteria-based progression is followed. They should have normalized range of motion, strength, and scapular mechanics, followed by a sound plyometric progression. Once this is achieved, they are advanced to an interval throwing program with increasing distance, effort, and volume which should be tracked for workload, making sure they do not throw more than their body is prepared for.
KeywordsReturn-to-throw Return-to-play Plyometrics
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Both authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and animal rights and informed consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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