Softball Injuries: 5 Simple Tactics to Avert Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Today, fastpitch players are suffering many of the same injuries baseball pitchers have been experiencing for decades. However, they’re not receiving the same attention. One particular injury that is rarely discussed in regards to softball pitching is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). 

For today's video blog I will be discussing 5 common factors that can contribute to TOS along with actionable items indvidual players can use to help avert TOS in the future. 

 

Below is a quick summary of the topics being discussed. 

1) Unknowingly "Stuck" in a poor position

A) Common presentation of softball players include 

Low right shoulder 

Low right shoulder 

* Adducted/internally rotated right hip (hang out on your right hip)

*Abducted/externally rotated left hip 

*These compensations often lead to a low right shoulder, prominent left rib flair, and depressed clavicle angle. 

B) Pitchers need to get to the 12'Oclock position and externally rotate 

C) The constant ongoing battle between performance demands (arm up) and where the body wants to rest (arm down).

 

2) Poor Breathing Patterns

A) Heavily reliant on the mouth to bring oxygen into the body 

B) Secondary breathing muscles have no choice but to work harder (scalenes, pec major/minor, lat, sternocleidomastoid)

C) Muscles adapt and get bigger while space for bundles decreases 

 

3) Overuse of Pitchers

A) No pitch count limit, required rest, lack of backup 

B) More mound time means muscles that power this movement are getting bigger 

 

4) Subpar throwing and lifting mechanics

A) Poor mechanics can lead to gross compensation patterns down the road

B) Relaxing the neck during arm care drills 

 

5) Poor Tissue Quality

A) Soft tissue quality basically means the ability of the tissue to perform optimally without the presence of pain   

B) Challenging movements result in micro trauma 

C) Drive way snow analogy