Chad Gaudin has had a nice career in the major leagues, but he is headed to the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation. His coach says:
We anticipate it’ll just be some inflammation, a little soreness, that we’ll be able to work out of there, and he’ll be back on in a few weeks.
So, what is it about pitching that causes shoulder inflammation. Let’s take a look at a few things:
What is shoulder inflammation? Shoulder inflammation is irritation of the soft tissue in the shoulder joint, specifically the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Why does pitching cause shoulder inflammation? There is a great deal of stress placed on the unnatural arm motion in pitching. The shoulder takes the brunt of this stress, which leads to the rubbing, fraying and abrasion of muscles, tendons and ligaments.
How can you prevent shoulder inflammation? Yeah, this is a tough one. Pitching is always going to cause shoulder inflammation to a certain degree. Again, pitching is not a natural motion for our bodies, so there will always be a level of damage, which causes the inflammation. The better question is how to prevent serious shoulder inflammation.
- Stretching – Prior to, during and after pitching.
- Taping – Tape the shoulder prior to pitching.
- Icing – Ice the shoulder joint after pitching.
- Massage – Massage is important after pitching to increase the blood flow into the area.
The problem is that shoulder inflammation can be progressive and iterative. Once a tipping point is reached you have to shut down.
This is a good overview of the taping process: