365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Softball Shoulder

So I am sure that all of you have heard of “tennis elbow”…. it’s basically tendinitis in your elbow caused by a bunch of repetitive motion… like swinging a tennis racket over and over. Well… I am staring to believe in something similar that I am calling “Softball Shoulder”.

About two years ago at the end of my fall ball season I was playing out in Right Field and I charged a ground ball that got through the infield. I fielded it cleanly and was aiming for a tag out play at home plate. At that time that was a throw I could make… at least on one bounce. But that particular day I felt something in my shoulder pop as I threw the ball. The throw got off ok (but we didn’t get the out) but my shoulder was done. Thankfully it was the last inning so I didn’t go back out in the field. As most athletes would do I alternated ice and heat on my shoulder for a few days and it started to feel better. About a week later I started my volleyball season and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hit because of my shoulder. Turns out that didn’t bother me at all. I thought all was good with my arm and that I’d just tweaked something with that last throw that was now all rested up and just fine.

I played volleyball every week until March or so with no problems at all. The spring following that game when I heard my shoulder pop a bit I was back on the field. In our first game I warmed up and everything was going really well. I was playing second base and for the first couple of innings I didn’t get much action. All of a sudden though I needed to shoot for a double play throw from second to first. Assuming everything was fine I turned the threw the ball hard to first. Fire ripped through my shoulder (and shocked the hell out of me). Ever since then I randomly feel the same kind of pain when I am throwing the ball. It doesn’t bother me at all doing anything else. Just when I throw the softball (with some amount of power and strength behind it).

A few months ago I was at the chiropractor and I asked him if he could check out my shoulder and offer any thoughts about what could be going on. He moved me through a few stretches and checked the range of motion in my shoulder and then announced that he was pretty sure I have tendinitis in my shoulder… and that throwing a softball is just aggravating it. I had stopped playing volleyball in favor of focusing on climbing and since my shoulder didn’t hurt while climbing I really didn’t think anything of it…. But softball… that was starting to hurt a lot. Dr. B said that climbing wasn’t helping my shoulder but that the real culprit was throwing…. that the only way for it to get better was to take a break from the game.

Of course, this season I am playing on TWO teams (with my BF) and softball is a game I’ve played religiously since I was about 11. I am not sure it’s something I can stop doing. I think I would miss it too much. So I continue to ice and heat my shoulder. I’ve been trying to change the way I throw to find a ‘spot’ that doesn’t hurt but still allows me to play. I’ve also been staying away from positions that require me to make that long hard throw. Still… there are more moments when it hurts than not. This morning my BF and I went out to the park and tossed the ball around for a bit. He was giving me suggestions of throwing positions and motions to try. Some were definitely better than others… and I think with practice I can figure out how to throw the ball without doing more damage to my shoulder. But, the reality is that I’ve been playing since I was 11 and there is a lot of muscle memory built into my arm. During a game situation I revert to my instincts and stop thinking about how I am throwing… which means I throw and it hurts. I am not sure that I am playing ENOUGH to change that muscle memory.

So, I guess for the rest of this season I need to deal with the “Softball Shoulder” and try not to make it any worse. Then over the fall and winter I can do some strengthening exercises and see if I can get it to a state where throwing doesn’t hurt as much…. if it still hurts next season I may have to cut down my play time… and perhaps increase my coaching time. That would make me very sad… and I hope isn’t the case… But I don’t want my shoulder to get worse and have that pain start to creep into other activities and other parts of my life. Time to do something about it.


May 28, 2011 Posted by | Random | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stubbornness & Injury

Alright, be honest! How many of you have ever ‘mildly’ injured yourself and then stubbornly refused to acknowledge that you are actually hurt and should probably take a break from whatever it is you were doing in the first place. Come on, I know we’ve all done it. Pulled a muscle running. Burned a hand cooking. I am most definitely in the category of extremely stubborn when it comes to pain and injury. I for some (admittedly messed up) reason I suffer through the pain and work my way through the tension and keep going… even if it hurts. Most especially if I am doing something I love and admitting it hurts would mean admitting that I really do need to stop and rest for a couple minutes, hours, days…

When I was playing volleyball in high school and college I quite regularly played through pulled neck and shoulder muscles, sprained wrists and strained knees. I even wanted back in the game after foul tipping and fast pitch off the bat and into my face, breaking my nose. I definitely didn’t want to admit that some ‘injury’ meant I was sidelined or couldn’t play. I was way too competitive (and yes stubborn) for that. Apparently in recent years not much has changed.

If you’ve been reading these even once a week (or you know me on a personal level) you know that climbing has become my recreation of choice these days. Well, yesterday was a typical Sunday afternoon climbing outing. Squeaks, my BF and I all hit up the gym (he was taking the safety classes so he could climb with us more regularly – YAY) and on my second send of the day I was gripping an under cling hold (sorry not taking the time to explain that) and attempting to get over a roof (sorry, not that one either) and as I pressed up (stood) I didn’t quite release my right hand on time – which twisted and ‘tweaked’ some tendons in my wrist. Yes, it hurt at the time – a lot. But after shaking it out I kept going and finished the climb. When I got down I told Squeaks what had happened but that I was ok and wanted to keep going and ‘work it out’. Since a lot of the time muscle stiffness can be easily worked out I figured that’s all I needed. Turns out it was a little more than muscle stiffness. As the afternoon wore on the tightness in my wrist got worse. Holding my hand in even a loose fist (required to safely belay someone) was getting really hard to do. Climbing simple stuff was ok, but anything that required any real tension in my hands or forearms to hold on or anytime I needed to put weight on my hand and press up hurt like crazy. I spent most of the night with ice on my wrist and hand (it’s the tendon in the outside of my wrist/arm that runs up into my last three fingers that is what’s hurt) and it helped, but it’s still pretty tender today. If I keep moving my hand it’s ok… but if I don’t move it or if I actually move it too much it tightens up again (actually typing a lot – which is required for this post – kinda hurts a bit too). Ugh, that’s all I have to say about this current situation. I hate being injured and am way to stubborn to really admit when I am – even here it annoys me that I am admitting it still hurts.

Tuesday (tomorrow) is our normal week night climb. And the logical part of my brain knows that I should pass on climbing and try and go another night later in the week – to give my wrist/hand time to heal. But the emotional/competitive/stubborn part of me really really wants to climb tomorrow night and not let a small injury like this get in my way. But, when my climbing partner (Squeaks) tells me no I am not allowed to climb until I can close my hand without flinching I guess I have to listen to her… After all – I told her stubborn butt the same thing when she broke her toe a few months ago.

February 28, 2011 Posted by | Climbing, Life, Random | , , , | Leave a comment