The Overhead Athlete

A smarter, scientific way to recover from overhead sports injuries

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.

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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.

Experience The Activcore Difference


How can Activcore help?

Working with overhead athletes is typically not a significant part of a physical therapist’s education. Rather, it is a specialization requiring much further study, training and practice following graduation from PT school.

Activcore physical therapists are uniquely equipped to assess and treat overhead athletes. The assessment involves your whole body to identify not only the site of injury, but the true source of your pain, weakness and dysfunction.

Each treatment session revolves completely around you. The physical therapist dedicates 55 minutes of undivided attention at every visit. This highly personalized, one-on-one treatment model allows your physical therapist to get the most out of you, for the fastest results possible.

At Activcore, we apply the latest hands-on techniques like postural restoration, manual therapy, and neuromuscular activation to optimize how your mind and muscles work together for both healing an injury and keeping you healthy and at a peak level of performance.

Once your pain has been addressed, you will have the opportunity to continue honing your movement patterns through performance training classes at Activcore. Your therapist will communicate with a highly credentialed performance specialist about your specific injury and plan of care. Together, they will determine how to most effectively progress your routine for optimal motor control, strength, speed and agility.

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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Activcore Success Stories

What are our clients saying about us?

In this day of specialties and specialists, I didn’t expect Activcore to consider the way my entire body worked.


Dr. Elizabeth Dalrymple is amazing!! The electronically stimulated dry needling and Redcord suspension therapy really helped improve my range of motion and relieve stiffness from an old rotator cuff injury! The whole staff is both knowledgeable and friendly. I recommend Elizabeth and Activcore to anyone. Thanks again!

Daniel H.

Activcore is unlike anything I have ever experienced. One patient, one provider, one hour – one at a time, every time. If you’re serious about your physical therapy and recovery, this is the only place to go!


I've only gotten excellent, effective care at Activcore. They have helped me through a long post-surgery rehab with skill and kindness that have been key to my recovery.



Explore an Activcore location in your area.

Activcore Online (Telehealth)Atlanta, GeorgiaCUMMING, GEORGIADENVER, COLORADOGREENwood village, COLORADOCASTLE ROCK, COLORADOPRINCETON, New JerseyScotch Plains, New Jerseynewtown, pennsylvania
Greenwood village
New Jersey
Scotch Plains
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