How can a rotator cuff tear be caused in baseball?





I am writting an essay about how a rotator cuff tear could occur in baseball pitcher from overuse. So far I've got stuff about throwing too much, would the rotator cuff tear be caused by fatigue of the muscles which destablizes them and they become stretched? Or is it biomechincal? Like the tensile force from the acceleration phase or deceleration phase?A Scientific answer in detail would be great.Thanks



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One Answer to “How can a rotator cuff tear be caused in baseball?”

  1. Leptostromataceae says:

    You’re on the right track. Most RC tears from pitching occur during the deceleration phase of the pitch. The throw involves rapid acceleration of INTERNAL rotation… upwards of 7000 degrees per second (That’s almost 20 complete circles in one second!) So since we’re only talking about 200 degrees of range of motion here, external to internal, there’s a lot of force and a lot of speed that needs to be decelarated in a very short space and time. Normal range of motion from external to internal is about 180 degrees (90 external, 90 internal), but over time, pitchers have stretched out their muscles and joint capusle to have ranges of external rotation WELL beyond that – hence the freaky looking position of their arms when you watch a pitch in slow motion.So now looking at the biomechanics, you have some big, strong muscles performing internal rotation (e.g. pectoralis major, teres major, latissimus dorsi, subscapularis …. and a little help from anterior deltoid). That’s how it’s able to move so quickly with so much force internally.So now we need to stop that motion. We have the infraspinatus and teres minor with a little help from posterior deltoid. Not much going for it, huh? These are the muscles that have to eccentrically contract to stop the internal rotation. The supraspinatus is usually the first one torn. It’s kind of along for the ride. It gets the initial brunt of the stretch with internal rotation, due to it’s position, but it’s not considered an external rotator. It’s primary job is the initial abduction of the arm, but still, from its origin along the top of the scapula to its insertion at the top of the greater tubercle of the humerus, it’s easy to see how it gets pulled when you reach terminal internal rotation.So basically you have all these big fast muscles launching the humerus into an internal spin, with a few tiny weak muscles trying to hold it back. Somethings going to give. It both a tensile force from the stretch combined with a shear force from the positional twist that causes a tear to begin.Prevention of a tear usually involves strengthening of the external rotators, concentrically and eccentrically as well as proprioceptive stabilization of the shoulder to teach the muscles to react quickly to positional changes. I hope that helps give you an idea of what to look for. Obviously you’ll want some biomechanics texts or journals to cite for your paper, and I apologize I can’t provide any of those right now, but I hope that gives you an idea of whats going on and what muscles you’ll need to include with descriptions of how they work and are involved with the injury.