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Overhead Athletes

The overhead athlete requires specialized care in physical therapy. A true understanding of not only body mechanics and anatomy is necessary, but also an in-depth knowledge of how these mechanics are applied in sport. More and more we are seeing mis-managed shoulder pain as it relates to overhead use in sports. 

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CrossFit involves a lot of overhead movements that require a significant amount of mobility and stability. Repetitive use in the overhead position can put stress on the structures of the shoulder complex and can lead to injury if an athlete is lacking in one or both of these areas. 

Other sports like tennis, baseball, and swimming also have a high risk for shoulder injuries. Though shoulder injuries are the most common, other injuries of the upper extremities and back can occur.


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Both Sarah and Beth specialize in treating shoulder injuries and understand the unique demands of CrossFit movements. Additionally, Beth has been a tennis player all her life and recognizes the needs of these particular athletes. By understanding and participating in these sports, the therapists at Arrow are able to effectively diagnose, treat, and reduce the risk of future injuries. 

AT ARROW PHYSICAL THERAPY, YOU WILL RECEIVE A ONE-ON-ONE INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT AND CUSTOMIZED, EVIDENCE-BASED, PHYSICAL THERAPY INTERVENTION TO GET YOU BACK TO OVERHEAD ACTIVITIES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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Common OVERHEAD INJURIES TREATED AT ARROW PHYSICAL THERAPy include, but are not limited to:

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  • shoulder impingement

  • frozen shoulder

  • tendonitis

  • subacromial bursitis

  • rotator cuff strains/tears

  • other muscle strains

  • glenoid labrum tear

  • AC joint injuries

  • scapular instability

  • thoracic/mid back pain

  • elbow and wrist pain

  • core muscle weakness

  • muscle imbalance of the upper extremities


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SYMPTOMS

It is important to see a provider as soon as you begin to feel pain/symptoms as these can progress into something much bigger and much more difficult to treat conservatively.
Some typical symptoms of overhead injuries include:

  • pinching in the shoulder joint with the arm overhead

  • dull, achy or sharp pain in the anterior shoulder

  • lateral arm pain

  • shoulder blade pain

  • difficulty reaching overhead or behind back

  • stiffness of arm/shoulder

  • pain during or after sports

  • pain sleeping on shoulder

  • weakness of arm

  • numbness and tinging in arm or hand


DIAGNOSIS

A proper diagnosis of what is causing your pain is crucial. There are many structures involved with overhead motions and a “one size fits all” approach will not have much success.  There are specific tests and measures that your physical therapist will perform to identify what structures are painful and what is causing the problem. Many times this can be just as effective as imaging (X-ray, MRI, etc.) while being less costly and less time consuming.


TREATMENT

Shoulder PAIN and other upper extremity injuries

respond well to physical therapy

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Treatment involves improving range of motion, strength and stability, along with correcting faulty movement patterns.  Patient education is also key in managing these conditions and reducing the risk of future injury. 

We do not want to take you away from the activities you love. Your therapist will help you modify movements as needed and guide you to ensure a safe and effective return to full activity level and performance.

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