Injury Spotlight: Shoulder Injuries

Injury Spotlight: Shoulder InjuriesAthletes are especially susceptible to shoulder problems. Shoulder problems can develop slowly through repetitive, intensive training routines involving overhead motion, such as:

  • swimming
  • tennis
  • throwing
  • weightlifting

Injuries also can occur during everyday activities, such as washing walls, hanging curtains, and gardening.

Types of shoulder injuries

Shoulder problems can be minor or serious. Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Common injuries to the shoulder include:

  • sprains
  • strains
  • dislocation
  • separations
  • tendonitis
  • bursitis
  • impingement
  • frozen shoulder
  • labral tears
  • rotator cuff issues



Symptoms may include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • weakness
  • changes in temperature or color
  • changes in your range of motion


Usually, shoulder problems are treated with “RICE:”

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Other treatments include therapeutic exercise, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, and surgery, if other treatments do not work.

Visit our website to learn more about shoulder injuries. If you believe you have a shoulder injury, contact your doctor, or call the experts at UPMC Sports Medicine at 412-432-3600.

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Preseason Baseball Conditioning: How to Stay Strong All Season

Preseason Baseball ConditioningYouth baseball has become increasingly competitive over recent years, joining other sports in which athletes frequently expose themselves to overuse injuries. Playing multiple games per week — along with the repetitive motion of the overhead throw — can cause stress to the musculoskeletal system.

Stretch weakness

Many baseball players think, “The more I throw the stronger I will be.” This is not necessarily true. In most cases, the opposite effect occurs.

The arm, and in particular the rotator cuff, undergoes a phenomenon known as stretch weakness. As the arm is used, or overused, the muscles become excessively stretched and lose strength over time.

Stretch weakness often leads to a weaker rotator cuff and forearm, and a higher propensity to injury and tissue breakdown towards the end of the season.


Injury typically occurs when the kinetic chain breaks down. For example, when fatigue sets in to the legs, throwing mechanics often change, adding more stress to the arm as the player compensates to maintain velocity.

Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In baseball, the weak links typically are the shoulder and elbow.

Because baseball is a repetitive sport, you have to build specific muscles so they can endure repetitive stress. A proper conditioning program prior to, and during, baseball season, can help you strengthen these muscles and avoid injury and fatigue.

Maintaining strength and flexibility

Maintaining strength and flexibility in the rotator cuff and forearm are paramount in a conditioning program for baseball.

Functional (or movement-simulated-resistance) training — along with traditional strengthening and flexibility exercises — can help you target these injury-prone areas and stay strong throughout the entire baseball season.

It’s helpful to have a baseline of your current performance and strength levels to compare improvements or reductions in performance. Rotator cuff strength tests with numerical data, or side-to-side comparisons of strength, can help determine any deficiencies in your throwing arm.

If you start the season with a deficit, you heighten your risk of injury and potentially reduce performance.

The experts at UPMC Sports Medicine can perform these strength tests, as well as help with your preseason conditioning and in-season maintenance training. Learn more about our UPMC Sports Performance programs or call 724-444-8850.

Conditioning program for baseball players

Too often, athletes spend little or no time preparing for their sport. Additionally, many players never give themselves an off-season to recover and rebuild their muscles. 

To maximize performance and minimize injury, follow the sample-training program below.

Preseason training

Ideally, begin your preseason conditioning 8 – 12 weeks before your season starts.

Type of training

What to do

How often


Baseball-specific exercises for:

  • Rotator cuff
  • Shoulder girdle
  • Forearm


Speed and Agility

  • Start with a dynamic warmup
  • Include proper static stretching

2-3 times per week


Exercises to build fatigue-resistant muscle and increase power in the rotator cuff, shoulder girdle, and forearm; the core; and the lower extremity

  • Start with high reps, low intensity
  • Progress to low reps, high intensity
  • Vary reps and intensity,  from exercise to exercise, to address endurance and power within the same workout

3-4 times per week


  • Begin with a good cool down after each workout
  • For a more active recovery, institute cross-training or pool workouts 1-2 times per week

1 full recovery day (complete rest) per week


In-season training

Type of training

What to do

How often


Shoulder-specific exercises focusing on the:

  • Rotator cuff, all planes, especially internal and external rotation (with arm at side and at shoulder level)
  • Forearm and shoulder girdle (around shoulder blade)

2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices


Exercises for the core and lower extremity

1-2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices


For more information on baseball performance training, please contact UPMC Sports Performance at 724-444-8850.

For injury-related questions, call UPMC Sports Medicine at 412-432-3600.

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Skin Lesions in Wrestling

With wrestling season upon us, it’s time to pay attention to the one organ that protects our entire body: the skin.

Skin lesions in wrestling are almost as common as injuries. But, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can prevent them.

The four types of skin lesions in wrestling are:

  • bacterial
  •  viral
  •  fungal
  • allergic reactions

For the purpose of this article, we will discuss the most common lesions in wrestling.

Bacterial skin lesions

  • Impetigo is a bacterial infection commonly found in adolescents. It appears as a pimple-shaped vesicle that eventually bursts to form patches of red, irritated skin, accompanied by a yellow crust.
  • MRSA is another bacterial infection that can occur in any wound. You should suspect MRSA if your wound wasn’t properly cleaned, you develop a fever, and the wound becomes exceedingly painful.

Viral skin lesions

  • Herpes Simplex, Zoster, and Gladiatorum are all viral infections commonly related to wrestling. About one in 10 Americans carries a form of the virus, which can be spread through body contact with an open wound or mucous membrane (mouth or nose). Herpes forms a cluster of painful blisters that usually clear up within seven to 10 days.
  • Molluscum Contagiosum is very common among adolescent athletes and is spread through skin-to-skin contact. The lesion is flesh-colored with a dimpled center.

Fungal skin lesions

  • Ringworm is the main fungal (or tinea) lesion in wrestling. It appears as a circular plaque with a skin-tone center. 
  • Athlete’s foot and jock itch are other common fungal infections.

Treatment and prevention

  • bacterial infections: topical antibiotic; more severe cases may require an oral antibiotic
  • viral infections: topical anti-viral medication; more severe cases may require an oral anti-viral
  • viral lesions also may be treated by:
    • curettage, a process of scraping and removing the lesion
    • freezing the lesion entirely
  • fungal lesions: topical or oral anti-fungal medications

Prevent fungal lesions by maintaining clean and dry equipment and clothing. You can prevent and contain all of these lesions with proper hygiene and a watchful eye.

If you suspect any type of skin lesion or disease, please contact your Athletic Trainer, UPMC doctor, or family dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Sports Medicine Welcomes Its Newest Physician

Volker Musahl, MDVolker Musahl, MD

An assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Musahl specializes in sports medicine. His clinical practice provides compre­hensive care of injuries to the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip, and ankle.

Dr. Musahl received his medical degree from Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at UPMC, and a sports medicine and shoulder fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Dr. Musahl is an active triathlete, cyclist, and runner. He’s competed in the Ironman in Switzerland, a 190-mile bicycle race around Lake Vaettern in Sweden, and four marathons. Recently, he completed the Spirit of Pittsburgh Half Marathon, placing 13th in his age group.

Dr. Musahl also played club-level soccer while growing up in Germany.

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UPMC Sports Medicine Announces Marathon Seminar Series

UPMC Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping our area athletes prepare for the upcoming Pittsburgh Marathon. Our free seminars provide tips on preventing injury during training, building physical and mental endurance, and other pointers on participating in marathons.

Twelve Weeks and Counting… : Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.

UPMC Montefiore
LHAS auditorium, 7 Main
3459 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Final Race Preparations: May 1 at 10 a.m.

Westin Convention Center Hotel
1000 Penn Ave. 
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Visit the Pittsburgh Marathon’s website to learn more about marathon activities.


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Calendar of Events

March 5 and March 6
Current Issues in Athletic Training
University of Pittsburgh Duratz Athletic Facility, 2nd floor conference room

March 7
Sixth annual AT River Run 5K and 1 mile challenge

March 20 to March 21
UPMC Sports Medicine presents the All Sports Expo and Conference at Heinz Field

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