Shoulder and elbow injuries are incredibly common in overhead sports such as baseball and softball. The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine reports fivefold increase in serious shoulder and elbow injuries in youth baseball and softball since the year 2000. Though there is no way to completely prevent these injuries from occurring there are things youth athletes can do to help reduce the likelihood of injury. Improving posture is one simple way to help reduce injury risk. In this blog, I will explain why having poor posture is so bad for throwing and a couple of simple ways to improve posture.
A postural assessment is one of the first things we look at as part of our physical assessment when someone comes in for PT. It is common to see kids come in with forward head, rounded shoulder posture as seen here.
This posture is often related to playing video games for extended periods and we even with refer to it jokingly as “Fortnight Posture.” There is a good article in the Wall Street Journal from August 2018 that refers to a study that related youth baseball shoulder and elbow injury directly to playing video games.
Though there is debate on what the “ideal posture” is for the pitching delivery it is quite clear that rounded slouched position is not desirable. Rounded posture has been shown to reduce shoulder range of motion. You can test this yourself by simply sitting with rounded posture and trying to lift your arms as high as you can.
Then sit up with good posture and try again.
You will be able to gain 20-30% more motion simply by improving your posture. Several studies have shown that reduced shoulder range of motion increases the risk for shoulder and elbow injury.
By simply improving your posture you can reduce your risk for shoulder and elbow injury. An exercise we often give to our patients is shoulder blade pinches. By sitting up straight and gently pinching your shoulder blades back you will improve your posture.
Do this throughout the day, after being on the computer or on your phone (or playing Fortnight) for long periods and you will improve your posture.
Complete Game Physical Therapy works with overhead athletes, athletes who take part in all sports, and anyone needing physical therapy. To make an appointment, please call our office at 978-710-7204.