We see people all the time come in because of an “overuse” injury from these three sports. Rotational sports are the hardest to master biomechanically because all 3 planes of motion must be used synergistically. The problem is that most people don’t know how to use areas of their body efficiently to generate force. If this happens then compensation and subsequent overuse takes hold. Examples of overuse injuries include tennis/golf elbow, rotator cuff trigger points and impingement, hip impingement, labral tear, low back pain, patellar tendinitis, osteoarthritis, etc.
Compensation and overuse is hard to detect because, well, these are your normal ways of moving. Unfortunately the first time most people conceptualize their compensation is when they are in pain. The goal of treatment should then be to fix the faulty movement pattern (the cause) rather than just focusing on the inflammatory painful area (the symptoms). For example, did you know that almost all tennis/golf elbow is caused by a lack of shoulder mobility?
So how do you know if you are compensating before pain arises? And what do you do when pain arises? First, understand that pain is a guide to let you know that something isn’t right. If you have pain during or after an activity, it is most likely because you are doing the activity wrong. Second, get a Functional Movement Screen and Biomechanical Assessment. The easiest way to determine compensation and faulty movement patterns is to get a Sport Specific Functional Movement Screen.
When compensation and overuse is found, understand that “Band-Aid” care will not fix the problem. Band-Aid care is considered massage, adjustments, dry needling, steroid injections, stretching, and anything that focuses on the symptoms, not the cause. The only way to make lasting change is to change the way you are using your body over time.
There are 3 foundational aspects that must be mastered to excel at any rotational sport: Functional Hip Rotation, Core Stability, and Scapular Stability/Rotator Cuff Mobility. Each of these must be mastered first individually, then put together in a sport specific manner. This not only limits compensation and potential overuse, but also gives you the tools to maximize your skill by training power and speed behind these foundations.
We all want to continue to do the things we love. And we usually play through pain because of the love for the sport. Correct functional biomechanics promotes physical longevity, while poor compensations behind movement leads to overuse, pain, and degeneration. We want to help you help yourself, by giving you the tools to exit your compensation lifelong and all that comes with it.