One of the main reasons I love writing for The Disabled List is that I learn something new each day. Seriously, I love the human body and its amazing ability to function. In another life I am a doctor, but not this one.
So, I was elated when Chris Young was diagnosed with a torn shoulder capsule. Yeah, I had no idea what that referenced, either. Through research, I can tell you pretty much everything about a torn shoulder capsule. Before I start, I will tell you Chris Young is screwed as a major league pitcher. He’s not going to come back from this injury.
The shoulder is an amazing joint in that the internal ligaments aren’t as strong as you would think they should be. The shoulder primarily relies on muscles to help it do the work.
What is a shoulder capsule? Every movable joint in your body has a capsule. There are two layers to the capsule, an inner and outer. The inner is composed of cartilage and works with the bones directly. The outer layer is tissue and connects nerves and muscles. The purpose of the capsule is to cushion, protect and seal the movable joint.
How do you tear a shoulder capsule? With a lot of effort. Seriously, it takes a great deal of stress to actually tear the capsule that envelops the shoulder joint. Well, you can imagine that in pitching, which is an unnatural body movement, the stress is immense. Most torn shoulder capsules are caused by stress trauma on the shoulder joint.
How do you treat a shoulder capsule? There are two methods. Rest and time is the first way, which applies to pretty much everyone who suffers this condition. Most tears aren’t significant and will resolve on their own. Surgery is the second way and is what Chris Young is doing. Surgical intervention is called for if the tear is significant or if further exploration of the joint is needed for previous injuries.
Can you rehab a torn shoulder capsule? Yes, without a doubt. It is a long process, though. The problem is that the shoulder joint is so connected, it is hard to focus on one area. Most people will never notice a tear after it has healed, but baseball pitchers will constantly be aware of the problem.