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March 04, 2021  
SHOULDER NEWS: Feature Story

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  • Tired Shoulder Not Uncommon

    Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez's Tired Shoulder Not Uncommon


    October 21, 2004

    By: Sydonya Barker for Shoulder1

    Overuse any body part and it can wear out. Backs ache from excessive lifting, eyes strain from perpetual staring, and shoulders get tired from too much throwing—especially when you’re a pitcher on a professional baseball team.
    Learn More
    How Much do you Know about a Tired Shoulder?
    1) Did you know: Tired shoulder is actually a muscle sprain of the shoulder

    2) Did you know: In the case of Yankees pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, a tired shoulder can shave over 10 miles per hour off of a fastball

    3) Did you know: A strained muscle shoulder can also place too much stress on other joints such as the elbow, resulting in possible injury to this area as well




    “My shoulder is tired,” said Orlando Hernandez, New York Yankees’ starting pitcher, one week before the 2004 Major League Baseball playoffs. Continuing in Spanish, Hernandez, known as El Duque, said, “I think it’s normal in the recuperation of the arm, and in a couple of days I’ll be fine.” In May 2003, El Duque underwent surgery on his right arm to repair a torn rotator cuff, the set of tissues that secures the arm to the shoulder joint, allowing the arm to rotate. The “tired shoulder,” El Duque’s new injury, is the less clinical term for what is medically known as a muscle strain.

    A muscle strain may be either minor, as in when the muscle has been overstretched, or severe, as in when the muscle is torn. Because the deltoid muscle is the largest muscle on the shoulder, a “tired shoulder” is usually the same as a strained deltoid.
    Muscle Strains
    Grades of Muscle Strains
    Grade 1: Patients can use arm even though there is tightness in shoulder

    Grade 2: Frequent muscle spasms with some swelling leaving most patients unable to use arm

    Grade 3: Severe pain and unable to use arms – shoulder muscle may be so strained that it produces a visible bulge




    Shoulders are prone to aches and pains because shoulder joints move every time people move their arms. When shoulders are placed under too much stress, usually because of repetition of a particular motion, the muscles become overused. While a shoulder strain often hinders normal activities such as driving or writing, for a baseball pitcher, who relies on the shoulder to hurl the perfect throw, a “tired shoulder” can subtract several miles per hour off a fastball. This hurts not only the athlete, but also the team.

    Last updated: 21-Oct-04

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