THE
OVERHEAD
ATHLETE

It is common for athletes who play overhead sports (swimming, tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball, track and field events, etc.) to develop pain or have an injury at their shoulder and elbow. But that doesn’t mean the problem starts or ends there. For many, the underlying cause of arm injuries is a lack of coordination and strength of the structures closer to the body, including the shoulder blade, spine, pelvis and hips. At Activcore, we have trained specialists who look at all of these pieces as a whole in order to effectively and safely help you return to your sport.

An overhead athlete is someone who participates in a sport that requires overhead motions, such as pitching baseballs, throwing softballs, spiking volleyballs, serving tennis balls, swinging golf clubs, passing footballs, and launching javelins. During each of these activities, the arm must reach a unique position and then accelerate rapidly through a precise path. Not only must the arm coordinate its movement, but the forces from the feet through the core and pelvis must be transmitted through the hand in a seamless sequence. This intricate but explosive movement puts overhead athletes at risk of injury.

What happens when your body gets in the way of playing your sport?

•  Loss of throwing velocity
•  Loss of pitching accuracy
•  Loss of swinging speed
•  Low back pain

•  Orthopedic injuries & surgeries
•  Rotator cuff weakness and tears
•  Shoulder, elbow and wrist tendonitis
•  Sprains and strains

While these symptoms are common among athletes, they are not normal and should be addressed by a qualified healthcare provider. If this sounds like you, click here to get help now.

The shoulder’s bony anatomy is designed to allow for the great amount of mobility it needs to work properly. A “ball-and-socket” joint that sits much like a golf ball on a tee — with mismatch in size. Significant muscle motor control and strength are necessary to keep your shoulders functional and pain-free throughout overhead motions.

The glenohumeral joint connects your upper arm bone (humerus) to your shoulder blade (scapula). The scapula moves on your rib cage to provide a stable foundation for arm movements. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is where your collar bone (clavicle) meets your scapula. There is also a sternoclavicular (SC) joint where your collar bone articulates with your breast bone (sternum).

Efficient performance relies on appropriate coordination between these joints. Just as importantly, the arm’s mechanics are heavily influenced by the forces transmitted from the point your foot leaves or hits the ground in a throw, all the way until the ball or object is released. You need enough balance, hip range of motion, core control, and thoracic spine rotation in order to set the arm up for success. Putting all of these pieces together allows for a fast and accurate movement.

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How can Activcore help?

The physical demands of athletes are uniquely different from the general population who do not engage in similar activity. Likewise, physical therapy for this special population should not be given a conventional approach.

If you have been experiencing any pain and participate in high-level sports, it is a good idea to see a physical therapist. We specialize in movement and can utilize certain screens and testing to determine if you are at a high risk for injury. We can then create an individualized program to improve mobility, stability, strength and endurance. These programs can be especially critical to implement into youth sports programs as warm-ups to improve mechanics and reduce the risk of injury during sports.

If you have undergone surgery, physical therapy is an imperative next step toward recovery. Early on in the recovery process, the focus is on pain control, range of motion, and functional training. As you move through the recovery timeline the focus shifts to work on progressive strengthening and neuromuscular control. Balance exercises are critical to regaining stability and control of lower extremity movement. Late stage rehab should encompass sport specific and reactive movements, neuromuscular control, strength training, and cardio.

THE ACTIVCORE DIFFERENCE

Working with athletes is typically not a big part of a physical therapist’s education. It is a specialty area requiring much further study, training, and practice following graduation.

At Activcore, you will be matched with a physical therapist who specializes in treating athletes. Unlike the "typical" PT who probably doesn't even play sports, you will have a specialist who knows exactly what you are going through.

We focus on how you move to get to the underlying root cause of your injury or pain. For instance, we use the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) model of assessing the body for physical limitations that may arise in the golf swing. Using a rigorous assessment process and extensive data that Titleist has collected on thousands of golfers (both amateur and professional), we know how one’s body should move in order to facilitate a mechanically sound golf swing. When we identify these physical limitations in your body, we can then implement a plan of care that addresses them. Through a specific movement based assessment for golf, we can also reduce the incidence of injury, improve performance, and keep you on the golf course longer.

Activcore physical therapists are also recognized nationally as a leading authority in the application of Redcord, a suspension exercise system designed to help you develop a smart, balanced body through the power of neuromuscular activation.

Your physical therapist will assess how you move as it relates to your sport. This is a holistic approach to identify not only the site of injury, but the true source of any pain, weakness and dysfunction. Addressing the underlying cause is absolutely essential for healing an injury, preventing recurrence, and keeping you healthy and at a peak level of performance. The progression of your physical therapy treatments should be a reflection of the type of activity you are trying to get back to doing.

You will feel the Activcore difference from your first visit. A highly personalized experience delivered by a passionate movement expert fully dedicated to getting you back and keeping you in the sport or training activity that you love. Once your pain has been addressed, you will have the opportunity to continue honing your movement through performance training at Activcore.

Common
Conditions
We Treat

• AC joint repair surgery
• Arthroscopic surgeries
• Bicep tendon surgery
• Biceps tendinitis / tendonitis
• Cervical spine dysfunction
• Elbow instability
• Epicondylitis
• Fractures
• Golfers elbow
• Impingement syndrome
• Joint sprains
• Labral tears
• Labral surgery
• Lateral epicondylalgia / epicondylitis
• Ligament injuries
• Lumbar spine dysfunction
• Medial epicondylalgia / epicondylitis
• Muscle strains
• Neck pain

• Nerve injuries
• Postural dysfunction
• Rotator cuff dysfunction
• Rotator cuff repair surgery
• Rotator cuff tears
• Scapular dyskinesis
• Shoulder dislocation
• Shoulder (glenohumeral) instability
• Shoulder replacement surgery
• Shoulder subluxation
• SLAP repair surgery
• SLAP tears
• Sports injuries
• Tendinitis / Tendonitis
• Tendon injuries
• Tennis elbow
• Thoracic outlet syndrome
• Thoracic spine dysfunction
• Tommy John surgery
• Ulnar collateral ligament injury
• Ulnar tunnel syndrome
• Weakness

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We’re building a revolution in physical therapy and performance.