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14 Aug 2007

Shoulder pain/arm numbness when I throw
I believe that I may have a rotator cuff injury/tear. 13 years ago, I "threw my arm out" making a throw from the outfield to home plate. There was a sharp pain, my arm went numb, and there was a significant period of time where I had trouble picking my arm up past 90 degrees. I never went to the doctor to get it diagnosed, believing that time and exercise would probably fix it.

I have recently started playing baseball again recreationally, and the symptoms return every time I make a full effort to throw the ball from the outfield or infield. I also can tell that there's not as much strength in my throws as it feels like I'm putting into them. However, when I pitch, I don't have the pain or weakness at all.

Is this consistent with a rotator cuff injury? Based on the time span from original injury to current, is surgery probably my only option to get back to 100%? What would be the recovery time? I understand that without a thorough examination you can't tell me with any certainty, but based on my descriptions I would appreciate an honest direct opinion. I will in no way take that as a diagnosis or hold you responsible for any action I take based on the advice.
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01 Jan 0001

Hi Bad wing

Could well be, some of your symptoms are consistent, but some are not entirely consistent. Often,with a rotator cuff injury, the pain comes on gradually, you often would only notice it a day after doing exercise. Also, is there pain now when you lift your arms above your head? I know you said it was there 13 years ago, but I'm not sure that is happening now. That is the tell tale sign of rotator cuff injury. So it's difficult to know for sure if that is what you have. It may be an artefact from that historical injury, or a new one.

So really, the first thing you would need to do is to have it diagnosed, because everything else is speculation. And you can't have any treatement, let alone surgery, based on speculation. So I think that the first thing is to get to a physio, or a biokineticist or even a sports physician and have them inspect it. It may be something related to that injury, perhaps weakness in the muscle, and upon returning to baseball, the weakened muscle and joint was put under strain it could not handle, equalling a new injury. That's possible too...

For more information on rotator cuff injuries (and to keep me from writing a book here), I did find an excellent website (credible too) with info on the injury -

But as I said, it's difficult to know for sure, and you certainly need to have it investigated. If it is rotator cuff, then I would also avoid surgery for as long as possible. Surgery should follow conversative treatment, and there are many ways to treat the rotator cuff without surgery.

Good luck

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