Thursday, April 11, 2013

Common Baseball and Softball Injuries: Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Disorder (GIRD)

Shoulder injuries are common in baseball and other sports involving overhead activites. Prevention is possible and the first step in prevention is knowledge. In this post, we will examine a common shoulder condition of the glenohumeral joint called Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Disorder or GIRD. 

The genohumeral joint is what most people think of as the “ball and socket” of the shoulder. Clinically, it is the joint that connects the humerus and scapula. This important joint is what allows the arm to move in a circular motion. 

Baseball pitchers rely on the Glenohumeral Joint for throwing. The strain that pitchers put on this joint by repetitively throwing can lead to GIRD. GIRD is an injury that develops over time as a result of overuse and is not typically an acute injury. 

GIRD is defined as a 20⁰or greater loss of internal rotation of the throwing shoulder. Other symptoms include: 

  • Vague pain in the shoulder with overhead pain
  • Decrease in throwing performance (control and velocity)
  • Occasionally, a decrease in motion
  • Increased range of external rotation and decreased internal rotation vs. non-dominant shoulder

Normally, GIRD is treated using non-invasive methods. Surgery is not normally required to treat this condition.  A common treatment plan could include the following:

  •  Rest from throwing for a period of 3-6 months
  • Physical Therapy that includes various stretches for the posterior and inferior capsules
In rare cases where rest and physical therapy does not work, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to restore range of motion. However, most cases of GIRD can be treated non-surgically. If you suspect you suffer from GIRD or another shoulder injury, make an appointment to see Dr. Vitolo or your orthopedic surgeon.