Should pain

hi. i am the mom of a 15 year old baseball pitcher & 1st baseman. he also plays football. at the end of baseball season this year his shoulder was really hurting him a lot. he recently went to the doctor with knee trouble from football. we got the dr. to check the shoulder also. he said there was a lot of clicking going on that shouldn’t be. we decided to start an exercise program & take the “wait & see” route. now we have found out that he will have to have surgery on his knee. we are trying to decide whether to go ahead & have an MRI on the shoulder now, or do as we planned & wait & see. does anyone have any advise? we don’t want to wait & do more damage to the shoulder. the physical therapist told us that most pitcher’s shoulder joints reconfigure themselves, and that is what has happened to my son’s. his main concern was that he could almost pop my son’s shoulder out of joint by just using his hands. does this sound like a serious problem, or is it normal trouble for a pitcher? Thanks!

No, shoulder joints that pop out are not common in my baseball experience. Because this question is so specific, it would best be answered by a medical professional. Dave Motzer, ATC, may take a shot at it, but unlike more general pitching-injury questions, which Dave usually answers in this forum, your question my best be directed to a medical proessional.

I would need to do an evaluation on your son’s shoulder to know what is going on. I don’t understand what your physical therapist was trying to tell you when he/she said “most pitchers shoulder joints reconfigure themselves”.

I can tell you that pitchers who have shoulder injuries that relate to laxity usually tend to continue to have shoulder problems. I would be concerned that this type of injury is happening at such a young age. I would also be concerned about the clicking in his shoulder. Sometimes it’s nothing to worry about. However, it is possible something more serious is going on.

Most of the orthopedic doctors that I have worked with will send the athlete to therapy to see if that takes care of the problem. If therapy does not work then they order an MRI. If you feel the need for urgency the MRI will tell you what is going on in the shoulder. This is why you hear about the professional athletes getting a MRI on site or with in 24 hours, so the degree of injury will be known right away. Another problem you may face is with the cost of the MRI and what your insurance will pay.

Whichever way you decide to go, your son will need to be on an exercise program that will maintain the shoulder through the pitching season. Steve Ellis has some good programs to keep the shoulder strong.