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Tag: throwing-athlete

We are growing again!

Added on August 4, 2016 by BodycentralPT

We are growing again!
It's back to school time for everyone and soon we will all be in full-swing "work" mode. Summer vacation is coming to an end. All summer long we have been working diligently on improving and expanding our services and footprint in Tucson!
 
On August 22nd, we will open our 5th location- The Bodycentral Physical Therapy Sports & Concussion Center.
 
This facility in Marana- 3601 W Cortaro Farms Road will be a great addition to our practice. If you have been to the Ultimate Sports Asylum location, then you have an idea of what this facility will be like. It is an open floor plan with high ceilings- equipped like a professional sports facility with rubberized flooring and a turf area for running, jumping, agility drills....well, you name it.
 
This location also has private treatment rooms and it features a concussion rehabilitation center. This specialized area will be used for our concussion evaluations and treatment programs that need a special environment. The decor in this facility is pretty amazing as well...I don't want to give away all the details because I want you to come for the open house party. Let's just say it will be pretty cool.
 
We are excited to be able to better serve our Marana and Northwest Tucson patients - and I'm sure you will be happy to have us closer to you to save the driving time!
 
Stay tuned for more updates.
 
Dr. Tonya Bunner (Co-Founder/CFO) and I want to say a heartfelt "Thank you" to all of our past and current patients- it is because of you that we do what we do. Also thank you to the medical community that has supported us over the years. We are blessed to be a part of Tucson and this great southern Arizona region.
 
Jennifer
 
Jennifer Allen,PT,DPT,OCS,SCS,CHT
Co-Founder/COO Bodycentral Physical Therapy
 
 

 

 

Baseball and Softball Injuries-Don't Let Pain End Your Career!

Added on April 13, 2016 by DrJAllen

Baseball and Softball Injuries-Don't Let Pain End Your Career!

I've heard it all too often "If I had just listened to my body and got help, I might have made it in MLB."

Ask Blake Eager his story and he will tell you "I wish I had this type of evaluation and treatment available to me when I was pitching". Blake pitched for the NY Mets organization and had a career ending injury. Currently he is coaching with Hills Baseball and works with Bodycentral Physical Therapy to keep pitchers healthy while improving performance.  He also works with the Baseball and Softball Sports Physical Therapists at Bodycentral with video analysis of pitchers.

Too often we are seeing more and more career ending injuries that could have been prevented if they had been treated in the early stages. There are many things that can cause injury in baseball and softball players, but overuse tends to be the creator of most long term problems. Some of the things we know about pitchers in particular:

1) Bad Pitching Mechanics have been linked to overuse and breakdown injuries- Players should get a good foundation at a younger age so as they mature and start throwing harder, their bodies are in optimal alignment with pitching. Simple things like a stride length that is too short can cause problems in the elbow and anterior shoulder. A pitching coach that understands the optimal pitching mechanics is essential.

2) Weakness in the Rotator Cuff and Scapular Muscles- Let's face it- There's nothing "natural" about the pitching motion. It's a whirlwind of stressors on the body that requires a huge Braking system. Pitchers create momentum and have to slow it down and stop it as the pitch is released. This requires massive amounts of strength and control. If the rotator cuff (muscles in the shoulder) is weak or out of its perfect ratio in regards to strength, then the pitcher is asking for trouble. Weakness in the shoulder blade muscles also is a major disadvantage. You wouldn't want the brakes to go out on your car---that would cause a crash or massive destruction. The same is true in the rotator cuff and scapular muscles- these are the brakes. If these are too weak or aren't working to their potential--- the pitcher is headed for a crash....or Tommy John surgery or worse. Working with a PT specializing in baseball and softball injuries is key to find these specific issues and get them corrected!

3) Training and Throwing Schedule is Out of Control- More is better right? Pitch more, get better, faster...WRONG. More is better works for cheese on your pizza....but with pitching, more can be just that...More. More pain, More breakdown, More overuse injuries. A balance must be achieved between work and rest so the body can recover. Pushing through fatigue or pain is a bad idea. Throw one more pitch today----lose that Major League career tomorrow. Getting a balanced pitch and recover plan is essential.

4) Weakness in the Lower Body and Core- Show me a pitcher with elbow pain and I'll show you a pitcher that has lower body weakness. Pitching starts with the control and strength in the legs and transfers to the core. Pitchers with lower body weakness break down sooner and pitching mechanics suffer. If you have a pitching related injury, you need the entire body evaluated (Not just the part that hurts). Patients look at me crazily at times when they have shoulder pain and I'm testing the Left hip strength.....it's related...truly.

So What can you do if you want to pitch faster, get better at the craft.....but also decrease your chances of injury?

Bodycentral and Blake Eager have combined forces to provide the components for this recipe to success. Kenzie Fowler has joined forces with Bodycentral for Fastpitch Softball Players that want the same--- better performance, and decrease risk.

The Elite Baseball and Elite Softball Programs available at Bodycentral Physical Therapy Include:

1) Injury Treatment- If there has been an injury, our Sports Physical Therapists with treat the area prior to any performance training. Most of this is eligible for insurance coverage. Hands on treatments like instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, dry needling and other strategies are combined with rehabilitation exercises.

2) Injury Prevention Strategies- Our team of Sports Physical Therapists and Conditioning Specialists combine to provide preseason risk screens for teams. We recently screened players in Canyon View Little League as part of the safety program in their league. Strength training, and other strategies are included in these packages. Many of these services are provided free to organizations on a first come- first serve basis. Please email Jennifer Allen for more information or to have your group screened. mailto:jen@bodycentralpt.net

3) The Elite Plan- This is the big one. This is for reducing injury risk and improving overall performance. This is what you would expect to see at the professional level of play. This includes video analysis of pitching, a full Medical Musculoskeletal head to toe evaluation as well as a strength and conditioning program developed specifically for the athlete. These evaluations are baseball and softball specific, and will highlight problems associated with pitching. With this evaluation, we find the areas that are potential trouble makers and get that addressed before they contribute to injury. Blake Eager and Kenzie Fowler are involved with this evaluation process so they bring Player and Coach insight into the Plan. They evaluate pitching from the coaching perspective and give players specific drills to improve in this area.

For More Information on these programs or to sign up-  mailto:info@bodycentralpt.net

Dr. Jennifer Allen is a Board Certified Sports Specialist and heads the Baseball/Softball sports medicine team at Bodycentral Physical Therapy. She is the creator of the Elite Baseball and Softball programs at Bodycentral Physical therapy, and lectures in the areas of Biomechanics and Baseball/Softball injuries. She worked with the Arizona Heat Women's Professional Fastpitch Softball team in Tucson, AZ, and currently volunteers as the Canyon View Little League Safety Officer. For more information visit: http://www.BodycentralPT.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Injuries in Baseball & Softball

Added on April 29, 2015 by DrJAllen

Hip Injuries in Baseball & Softball

When we talk about overuse injuries in baseball and softball, we generally discuss upper extremity conditions. Although those injuries are the most common, we are seeing more awareness and discussion of injuries to the hip.

How Do Injuries to the Hip Happen?

The activities of batting and throwing place high demands on the hips and put them at risk for injury. For instance with overhand pitching, during the wind up phase, a flexion and rotational force is placed on the hip. During the cocking phase, the hips are further apart and more loading stress is placed on them. As the pitcher moves from acceleration through the follow-through phases, the hips go through additional loading and rotational stresses. With Softball pitching, rotational forces occur in both the hips as the pitcher moves from a static standing position through the follow-through phase.

With Batting, during the stance or coiling phase, torque is placed on the back hip. As the batter moves through acceleration and follow-through, additional rotational forces are placed on the hips.

These are all normally occurring stresses that are just part of the games of baseball and softball. With normal stresses, there is a potential for injury. The potential for injury increases with the following risk factors:

1) Poor Biomechanics- Improper technique with any of the phases of batting, throwing or pitching can cause increase pressures and torque in the hip

2) Deficits in Mobility or Functional Movement- limitation in movement in any of the joints of the Lower body or Spine can contribute to increased problems in the hips

3) Deficits in Strength & Endurance- Weakness in the muscles of the hips or general "core" muscles can cause instability and result in increased pressures in the hips with activity. Fatigue can also play a part in these types of injuries- Arm fatigue is monitored for pitchers to alleviate the possibility of upper extremity problems, but we should also be monitoring lower body fatigue. If the lower body is weak or starts to break down, pitching accuracy will suffer and may be the first sign of fatigue.

4) Deficits in Proprioception/Balance- strength and flexibility are important, but being able to have balance on one leg and being able to shift weight and control motion is an important aspect in injury prevention. With poor balance, or awareness of body position, joints may move beyond their limits or may place undue strain on soft tissues that support them

5) Joint Abnormalities: abnormalities inside the joint may predispose players to certain types of joint "impingement" or pinching with movement. Repeated strain at these end ranges of motion can create pain and inflammation

Symptoms of Hip Injury

Symptoms of hip problems may be subtle at first and may just be tightness in the hip or buttock area. Other symptoms may include groin pain or aching into the thigh. As symptoms worsen, pain may be experienced at night or with the first few steps after sitting for a prolonged period. These symptoms are a sign that something is wrong in the area- the player should seek medical advice at the onset of these symptoms.

 

Screening for Risk Factors

A comprehensive baseball or softball program should include Pre-season screening, followed by preseason and off-season corrective actions to address any problems or deficits found during the screening process.

An ideal screen should include the following:

1) A regular pre-season Physical

2) Biomechanics Assessment- video assessment in slow motion during hitting/throwing or pitching

3) Flexibility & Strength screening

4) Screens of Specific Functional Movement Patterns

5) Balance & Stability Screens

The best injury treatment advice is to Avoid injury in the first place. Prevention strategies are the Key to keeping players healthy during their careers- if that is Little League Baseball...or all the way through the Majors.

Treatment for Hip Related Injuries

There are many conservative Physical Therapy treatments available for these types of hip injuries. Hands-on techniques, or manual therapy are an important part of rehabilitation as well as specific exercises to fix any muscle imbalances that may exist. Prior to returning to play, video biomechanical analysis is vital to look at throwing, pitching and hitting. This will help identify any mechanical or technique issues that could be causing problems in the hips.

Dr. Jennifer Allen is a Physical Therapist, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in the Areas of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, as well as a Certified Hand Therapist. Sports Programming at Bodycentral Physical Therapy includes Biomechanics assessment, video movement assessment, Injury Prevention, and individual and team performance enhancement. For more information visit www.BodycentralPT.netor call 520-325-4002.


 

 

 

 


 

Fastpitch Softball Injury Treatment and Prevention

Added on April 1, 2015 by DrJAllen

Fastpitch Softball Injury Treatment and Prevention

Fastpitch Softball Injury Treatment and Prevention

Spring is in full swing and we are right in the middle of Fastpitch softball season, one of my favorite times of the year. Along with the good, we sometimes as healthcare practitioners see the bad. This time of year, particularly in the early season, we begin to see the overuse injuries that are common with the sport.

A lot of emphasis is put on the prevention of injury in baseball players, and I couldn't agree more with what we do in the field of sports medicine to prevent and treat those injuries. We are getting better at identifying risks for injury and are addressing them to a higher degree in baseball.

I do feel we can do a better job for fastpitch softball players. Pitchers in fastpitch softball have repetitive use of the pitching and throwing arm, and are at risk for injury just as our baseball players are. There is a misconception that pitching a softball is somehow "safer" and less problematic than pitching a baseball. As time goes on, we are discovering that this is really not true. Forces on the shoulder and elbow can reach up to 95% of what are experienced in baseball pitchers (1, 2). Girls and women participating in fastpitch softball are susceptible to similar injuries in the shoulder and elbow as our baseball players.

Common Injuries/Painful Areas:

Anterior shoulder pain (pain in front)        

-       During the softball pitching motion, when the arm is in the "pitch delivery phase", there are significant distraction forces on the shoulder which make the Pectoralis major and Subscapularis muscles susceptible to injury. The Pectoralis Major is a large anterior chest muscle and the Subscapularis is part of the Rotator Cuff. These forces are similar to the forces seen in baseball pitchers.(1)

Elbow Pain

-       Distraction forces at the elbow make those tissues susceptible to overuse injury

 

Posterior Shoulder pain (pain in back of shoulder)

-       The posterior shoulder muscles (deltoid, infraspinatus, and teres minor) are injured while contracting to decelerate the arm during delivery of the pitch. Shoulder joint laxity can be a problem that leads to this type of pain problem. (1)

 

Prevention & Treatment: Bullet Points to Recognize as Factors

-       Proper pitching mechanics- Many factors can affect the ability to maintain good pitching mechanics. Musculoskeletal restrictions, weakness, and problems with balance can contribute to break downs in mechanics.

-       Pitching while fatigued. There are pitch counts available for baseball for different ages to help as a guideline to prevent arm fatigue. Best advice is to stop throwing when arm fatigue starts, regardless of pitch count. Below is a recommendation for fastpitch softball pitch counts as described by S. Werner, PhD.

-       Lower Extremity and "core" strength- Hip position and lower body control is important in the ability to produce force during the pitching movement. Weakness in the lower body can result in more reliance on the arm for force generation, and can lead to injury.

-       Shoulder and Scapular stability- strength and stability in the arm is important, but in addition to that, there must be adequate strength in the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade. If scapular stability is not present, that again results in smaller shoulder muscles generating and controlling forces.

-       Treatment of the softball athlete and return to play must consider all of these issues. Video Throwing and pitching analysis is an integral part of diagnosis and treatment of the "causes" of painful conditions. A thorough musculoskeletal and entire body functional analysis is important to identify restrictions that can lead to upper extremity overuse. Rehabilitation of the throwing athlete should include hands on treatment, video analysis and biomechanical analysis, and a progressive return to overhand throwing- followed by return to pitching. Missing any of these components can put an athlete at risk at developing another injury.

 

 

 

Fast pitch softball pitch count recommendations as suggested by SL Werner, PhD based on her research (3):

       10U – 60 Windmill pitches per day max followed by one day rest

       12U- 70 pitches per day max followed by one day rest

       14U- 80 pitches per day max followed by one day rest

       16U- 90 pitches per day max followed by one day rest

       18+- 100 pitches per day max followed by one day rest

Dr. Jennifer Allen is a Physical Therapist, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in the Areas of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, as well as a Certified Hand Therapist. Sports Programming at Bodycentral Physical Therapy includes Biomechanics assessment, video movement assessment, Injury Prevention, and individual and team performance enhancement. For more information visit www.BodycentralPT.netor call 520-325-4002.

 

References:

1.     Barrentine SW, Feisig GS, Whiteside JA, Escamilla RF, Andrews JR. Biomechanics of windmill softball pitching with implications about injury mechanisms at the shoulder and elbow. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 1998;28: 405-414.

2.     Werner SL, Murray TA, Levy M, Smith SL, Plancher KD, Hawkins RJ. Reports to the coaches: softball pitching at the 1996 Olympic Games (monograph on the Internet). Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation; 2001 Available from: http://www.shsmf.org/main/olympics/olympics1.html

3.     Leland, G. (Fastpitch Softball TV Show). (2014, April 16). How to Softball Drills & Tips: Softball Pitch Counts. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com

 

 

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