By Erin K. Blakeley, Shoulder1 Staff
For Shigetoshi Hasegawa, everything was going well in Anaheim. The 32- year old pitcher was 2-3 on the season, with an ERA of 4.79. But last week, Hasegawa started feeling inflammation in his shoulder. Reports from his doctor today indicate that Hasegawa has a partial thickness tear of his rotator cuff on his right arm—his pitching arm.
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connects the muscles of the upper shoulder to the bones. The cuff functions to allow the muscles to lift and rotate the humerus, or the upper arm. When the tendons or muscles of the rotator cuff tear, a person in unable to left or rotate the arm with the same range of motion as before the tear. The loss of mobility depends upon the severity of the tear; a fully torn rotator cuff will severely hamper range of motion, whereas a partially torn rotator cuff will affect the range of motion to a lesser degree.
Rotator cuff tears are often painful, particularly when the person lifts the arm or shoulder or tries to lift heavy objects. Rotator cuff tears often result from injuries associated with falling on an outstretched arm, or lifting or catching a heavy object. They are also associated with overuse, which might be how a pitcher like Hasegawa suffered the injury.
According to Anaheim team doctors, Hasegawa plans to treat the rotator cuff tear conservatively. Conservative treatment might involve the use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDS. It also may involve resting the shoulder, and physical therapy to strengthen the damaged muscles and tendons. For now, Hasegawa is at home working on his recovery, and remains on the disabled list.