Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 467, Issue 10, pp 2744–2748

Case Reports: Unusual Cause of Shoulder Pain in a Collegiate Baseball Player

  • Cassandra A. Ligh
  • Brian L. Schulman
  • Marc R. Safran
Case Report

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-009-0962-z

Cite this article as:
Ligh, C.A., Schulman, B.L. & Safran, M.R. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2009) 467: 2744. doi:10.1007/s11999-009-0962-z


The objective of reporting this case was to introduce a unique cause of shoulder pain in a high-level Division I NCAA collegiate baseball player. Various neurovascular causes of shoulder pain have been described in the overhead athlete, including quadrilateral space syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, effort thrombosis, and suprascapular nerve entrapment. All of these syndromes are uncommon and frequently are missed as a result of their rarity and the need for specialized tests to confirm the diagnosis. This pitcher presented with nonspecific posterior shoulder pain that was so severe he could not throw more than 50 feet. Eventually, intermittent axillary artery compression with the arm in abduction resulting from hypertrophy of the pectoralis minor and scalene muscles was documented by performing arteriography with the arm in 120° abduction. MRI-MR angiographic evaluation revealed no anatomic abnormalities. The patient was treated successfully with a nonoperative rehabilitation program and after 6 months was able to successfully compete at the same level without pain.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassandra A. Ligh
    • 1
  • Brian L. Schulman
    • 2
  • Marc R. Safran
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Stanford HospitalPalo AltoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryStanford UniversityRedwood CityUSA