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High school baseball pitcher struggles with overuse injury

Q. Baseball season has started and I am a pitcher for my high school team. I trained hard in the off season and began throwing hard in practice. My right shoulder became sore and the velocity of my pitches went way down. My parents took me to our family doctor who said I had tendonitis and to stop throwing for a month. I want to play and do not want to rest. Are there any other options?

A. Overuse injuries in baseball are very common. Some types of off-season weight training and exercising can stress the shoulder. Throwing hard without warmup can also lead to injuries. A sudden increase in number of pitches, throwing curve balls and sliders, or improper throwing technique can also put the shoulder at risk. When shoulder pain occurs, the shoulder should be checked and your parents were smart to take you to a doctor.

Because you are competitive athlete it may be best if you are seen by an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist. There are several overuse injuries seen in baseball — rotator cuff tendonitis, stress fracture, multidirectional instability or a labral cartilage tear. The correct diagnosis can result in a treatment plan that may include a rehab program designed not only to get you better but to decrease the risk of re-injury when you return to pitch.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

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