Tuesday Tips: The Disc Golf Doctor On Shoulder Injury Prevention

Exercises and tips to help with shoulder injury prevention

Peter Cram, the Disc Golf Doctor, is a board-certified orthopedic physical therapist. He maintains a YouTube channel where he regularly posts videos combining his professional expertise and interest in disc golf in an effort to help disc golfers stay healthy while they enjoy the sport. As part of our regular Tuesday Tips column, Peter highlights specific portions of his videos to help you avoid aches and pains while improving your game.

Shoulder injuries are very common in throwing athletes. Studies indicate that at least 24-43% of throwing/overhead athletes experience one. Here are a few important factors to consider regarding prevention that outline the video:

  1. Thoracic mobility

Limited thoracic mobility greatly limits shoulder mobility and puts the shoulder in positions prone to injury, specifically protraction and scapular anterior tilt. This narrows the subacromial space and inhibits the parascapular muscles from properly functioning.

  1. Rotator cuff strength

The humeral head is about 2.5 times larger than the glenoid (socket), making it an inherently unstable joint in the need of dynamic stability. The muscles primarily responsible for this are the rotator cuff muscles. Their role is to hold the humeral head within the glenoid fossa.

  1. Parascapular stability

The glenoid is a portion of the scapula or shoulder blade. The shoulder blade needs to be stable in order for the glenohumeral joint (shoulder) to function properly. Particular muscles around the scapula important for its stability and function have been shown to be weak in most people.

  1. Core strength

Again, having a stable base for the shoulder to work off of is essential. If the core muscles are not stabilizing the spine the forces will be spread elsewhere. The shoulder will naturally take a good portion of that load.

You can get the full details on shoulder mobility and injury prevention in the video below. Note: examples of exercises aimed at the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder begin just after the 11:30-second mark in the video.

Disc golf doctor shoulder injury

  1. Peter Cram
    Peter Cram

    Peter Cram PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist in Connecticut. He received his clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy from the UConn in 2012 and became board certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 2017. He grew up playing ultimate frisbee but started playing disc golf a few years ago. He now plays, thinks about, and discusses disc golf more than his wife and friends think is healthy.

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