Rotator Cuff Advice?

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Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby FierceTable » Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:33 am

I had a partial tear in my rotator cuff a number of years ago and was curious if anyone could comment on how that affects the ability to huck plastic.

My first time out I either overexerted myself or my technique was so bad it caused a great deal of pain such that my shoulder's mobility was immediately limited for the day. Since then I've used forehands almost exclusively. While I'm quite happy with my forehand I would like to develop a solid backhand drive, and I was curious if this is worth pursuing. I've noticed how much the arm gets behind/swings behind players when they bomb a backhand. Moving my arm up and back at the same time is quite painful, and I was curious if this is something others have overcome or if I should just give up on backhand hyzer drives in favor of something more fruitful.
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby The Bird Man » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:43 am

A week ago I pulled something in my right shoulder throwing a FH drive. I finished the round playing BH and did quite well. I then played in a tourney on Saturday and threw exclusively BH and got second in advance. I was amazed to say the least. I am hoping it heels with some rest. So, you tore your rotator cuff a few years ago and it still hurts? If it still hurts after a couple years, your F'd. Go see a doctor! I definitely wouldn't just play through a serious injury like that, you could mess it up a lot more.
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby FierceTable » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:33 pm

I had a partial tear about eight years ago. The doctor said he could cut it the rest of the way then repair it or I could just take it easy for about six months. I was told that either way I would end up with less range of motion so I opted to forego the surgery and just let it heal as much as it naturally could. My range of motion is somewhat limited. I can perform a full "normal" range of shoulder-height movement, but anything above that and my shoulder just won't allow it. So flat release forehand and backhand doesn't hurt, but anything between that and perfectly vertical can't be done.

If you've played baseball or football you might be familiar with the idea of different "slots" of throwing. I don't have much strength in a vertical slot, but there is no pain. I have no pain in a horizontal slot, but anything between the 90-180 degrees can be quite painful. It seems like many of the bigger backhand drives I've seen use a hyzer release which causes the arm to go into that above horizontal slot. Perhaps it's almost horizontal and their shoulders are turned such that it's not as much above horizontal as I think.

I was just wondering if anyone out there had a torn rotator cuff and if they could comment on what that has meant for them in terms of how it affects their backhand form if at all.
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby Monocacy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:58 pm

FierceTable wrote:If you've played baseball or football you might be familiar with the idea of different "slots" of throwing. I don't have much strength in a vertical slot, but there is no pain. I have no pain in a horizontal slot, but anything between the 90-180 degrees can be quite painful. It seems like many of the bigger backhand drives I've seen use a hyzer release which causes the arm to go into that above horizontal slot. Perhaps it's almost horizontal and their shoulders are turned such that it's not as much above horizontal as I think.

Let me make sure that I understand your terminology. Are you experiencing pain with hyzer throws (0-90 degrees, with 0 degrees straight down and 180 degrees straight up) anhyzer throws (90-180 degrees), or both? Is the pain on the pull, the follow-through, or both?

Have you tried throwing a slight hyzer while making sure that the angle of your shoulders matches the plane of the disc? I wonder if doing so might keep your arm swing in a comfortable, horizontal slot.

FierceTable wrote:I was just wondering if anyone out there had a torn rotator cuff and if they could comment on what that has meant for them in terms of how it affects their backhand form if at all.

Decades of water polo and swimming left my rotator cuff pretty chewed up. Backhand can be uncomfortable if I strong-arm the disc or let the pull line drift away from my chest. By switching to a compact bent-arm pull and staying relaxed until the disc is tight in the right pec area, I have been able to avoid shoulder problems (knock wood, rub voodoo charm) when throwing backhand.

Best of luck to you, but if backhand keeps your shoulder from working, you may need to concentrate on forehand . . .
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby FierceTable » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:29 pm

Thanks very much, that's exactly the sort of response I was looking for. I have no desire to learn an anhyzer backhand (not that it doesn't have it's place, but I can't imagine a scenario where I wouldn't be better off throwing a forehand which I have a great deal of confidence in). So really I'm just asking about the hyzer throwing motion. I haven't tried to crank a backhand very many times. The few times I have tried to amp up on a backhand it has happened so fast I couldn't tell you when the pain occurred. I have noticed that by limiting my reachback I tend to experience less pain, but I also feel like I'm taking away power by doing so.

As for trying the slight hyzer with shoulder tilt matching the hyzer angle, I think this is what I'm hoping to develop. I was curious if this has been an issue for anyone with shoulder problems and you've given me some personal experience which is very helpful. There's been so much snow where I am I haven't been able to go out and experiment much which is just killing me because I was finally starting to make so progress with my backhand after deciding to dedicate some time to it.
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby Blake_T » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:08 am

i'm a shoulder injury veteran... torn my right rotator cuff 6 times and separated that shoulder 3 times.

basically, throwing back hand should be VERY easy on the shoulder. if it's not then you have likely been hyper-extending the joint which can be caused in several different ways. jamming your pivot preventing a proper follow through, rotating (OATing) your upper arm at a weird time in the throw, strong arming, etc.

there's a lot of residual issues caused by previous shoulder injuries that you may or may not have had treated properly in the past. like, many rotator cuff injuries end up resulting in an immobilized collar bone on that shoulder's side and/or locked up ribs (especially the first rib, which is tough for people to notice).

i would generally recommend avoiding rotator cuff surgery as the slighest mishap during the healing process will ruin the surgery and it will still never be 100%. performing adequate rehab is also a big part of the injury whether you had surgery or not.

in most cases where people have had previous injuries where it made throwing a disc backhand uncomfortable, it's usually due to some of the residual problems i listed above. there are people that have shoulders that are basically destroyed, but if you didn't notice it until you started throwing a disc, chances are yours is not in that condition.

people have varying ideas of the course of action to go, but i can say that my experiences with chiropractors have helped my shoulder way more than any doctors or physical therapists i have worked with.
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Re: Rotator Cuff Advice?

Postby rehder » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:12 am

I will second seeing a chiropractor first AND then performing drills to stabilize the shoulder.

A very good series of articles talking about shoulder health can be read here:

part 1
part 2
part 3
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