The Shoulder Complex
These images depict of the anatomy of the shoulder complex – and yes, it is in fact, complex. All of these components must properly work together otherwise injuries will occur.
What can go wrong?
Overuse injuries occur because one or more structures aren’t working as they should and surrounding structures compensate by taking on a role that they were not made for. This is what we call being biomechanically unbalanced.
Let’s start by looking at the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is made for mobility – e.g. the rotation component when you’re hitting or serving. The thoracic spine can become immobile due to postural faults, hunching forwards for example. Now that the thoracic spine isn’t moving, the scapula has to compensate by moving more. Like any structure, you need a stable base on order to function properly and the scapula is the base of the shoulder. Additionally, a hunched over posture can place the shoulder in a forward rounded position. Being in this position decreases the joint space that the supraspinatus tendon and long head of biceps tendon runs through which in turn increases the friction onto these tendons every time you swing at the ball. This is harmful especially for volleyball players considering the amount of overhead swinging involved in the sport. This can lead to injuries such as rotator cuff tendonitis or tear, and shoulder impingement.
How can we prevent/fix this?
To prevent these injuries, we need to target the source or cause of the injury – that being the immobile thoracic spine. The first step is being aware of your posture throughout the day. Are you sitting or standing hunched forwards? In order to mobilize the thoracic spine you must first start by using the Posture Arch.
Once you have mobilized you can introduce the Posture Medic as good way to provide yourself with some tactile feedback to remind you throughout the day to be in a better postural position and help you build strength over time.
In order to build proper functional strength, you must make sure your joints have proper mobility. This will allow you to increase the rotation of your thoracic spine and that increases the amount of torque you generate through your swing.
Interested in learning more about volleyball injuries? Take a peak at my previous blog post by clicking here.
Let’s get you to your next level!