Uncontrollable Injury Risk?

We’re all aware of the arm health programs and approaches out there intended to condition the “arm” or rotator cuff to reduce the risk of injury. You have Tuff Cuff, Thrower’s 10, long toss programs like Jaeger’s, surgical tubing, weighted baseballs and pitching off a mound at game intensity. Obviously, there’s more than that list.

These are all aimed at the muscles and connective tissues in and around the shoulder. With my son’s recent problems with what we believe is a labrum tear, it seems that this is one injury risk that we all have absolutely no control over. It’s genetic.

For those of you who don’t know, the labrum is a rim of cartilage that lines the inside edge of the shoulder socket (glenoid). It can be torn away from the bone. In particular, it can be pulled away by the the biceps tendon which attaches through the top part of the labrum.

The point here is really to say that it seems to me that all the rotator cuff exercises in the world won’t help to make the labrum any more resistant to being torn off of the bone it’s attached to. I’m assuming that I’m correct with that one but I’d like to hear from others with more knowledge about these sorts of things than me.

The only question that remains is whether or not mechanics can help or hinder. I’m assuming a misalignment of the humerus in the socket can cause localized “wear” on the labrum and all you can do is try to avoid it. The other labrum issue that pitchers suffer from often is the SLAP lesion, where the biceps tendon that attaches to the scapula through the upper portion of the labrum, gets pulled on which takes the surrounding portion of the labrum with it.

What do you fitness guys out there say about these things? And you pitching guys who’ve either had labrum issues or your sons have. Does anybody have any thoughts on particular mechanics components that may actually cause labrum injuries?

When my son went through what his doctor referred to as a “crease” on his labrium (Discovered with a dye injected mri), was just as he started going to our pitching coach, the first thing he said was that he was “outside” the ball, also called “casting”, I call it leading with the pinky. What it does is put the shoulder under max tension and stretch and then when he lost his balance it caused him to injure the shoulder, actually a blessing because he had a whole lot of movement throwing like that so I don’t know how quick it would have gotten picked up or even if we would have started going to a pitching coach. Once he corrected it he’s not even felt tired in the shoulder again.