Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I am a collegiate baseball pitcher. Since the beginning of baseball season, the vague soreness in my shoulder has become centered in the back part of my shoulder, especially when I wind up to throw. The stiffness in my shoulder used to go away with a good warm up, but now even a warm up doesn't seem to help. What could be wrong with my shoulder? Will my problem just keep getting worse?


This problem you describe sometimes happens in athletes who do repeated overhand motions as part of their sport. The action of throwing forces the arm out and back in order to "cock" the arm to throw. This can potentially squeeze the ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) against the underside of the rotator cuff tendons, a condition called "internal impingement." 

As this condition develops, the feeling of stiffness initially goes away once you've warmed up, and pain felt during the wind up is generally vague. In time, the problem may worsen, causing the shoulder to feel stiff even after a longer warm up. Feelings of vague pain usually become more noticeable around the back part of the shoulder.

Treatment in the early stages involves resting the shoulder for one month followed with a strengthening program for the muscles of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade. Surgery is usually reserved for athletes who've had the problem for at least four months and who haven't gotten better after trying nonsurgical treatments.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter