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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Albert Cecchini, D.O.​​​​​​
Albert Cecchini, D.O.
Orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic locations in Wausau and Merrill Centers.

Question: I’m a pitcher and my shoulder really hurts. What are my options?​

The most common shoulder injury in pitchers is a shoulder joint tear, or what we call a glenoid labrum tear.

It occurs in the soft, fibrous tissue rim (labrum) which surrounds the socket (glenoid).

This can be caused by a specific injury to the shoulder but more commonly is due to the repetitive overhead motion you use.

In addition to the pain, you have probably lost velocity and placement accuracy on your pitches.

To determine what should be done, we perform a thorough history and physical exam of the shoulder.

We want to know how long you’ve had the injury, how severe it is, and what motions cause the most pain.

I often order an imaging exam to confirm the diagnosis.

In some cases, we may be able to relieve your pain easily with anti-inflammatories and rehabilitation.

If there is a tear, the rest is up to you.

This type of injury will never heal on its own, but it also is not something you must have repaired—unless you plan on continuing to pitch. Or swim. Or play tennis.

Some people decide to have surgery years later.

If you do need arthroscopic surgery, the extent of it will depend on your injury.

Sometimes we can “smooth out” the damage while other times the labrum is not stable and must be reattached.

You would then need to rehabilitate the shoulder and you probably would not be pitching for four to six months

​Marshfield Clinic provides orthopedic and sports medicine​ services in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location.