Elbow pain is a fairly common issue with young athletes. The repetitive motion of sports related activities can cause irritation and injury from overuse. Baseball pitchers are especially at risk of elbow injury, due to the high stresses placed on the elbow during repetitive overhand throwing. “Pitcher’s Elbow”, the common name for medial epicondylitis, usually appears as pain along the inside part of the elbow during or after a throwing activity. The frequency of the motion over a season can cause stress at the elbow, resulting in damage to the tendons and ligaments of the inner elbow. Pain and swelling inside the elbow are common symptoms. Range of motion in the throwing arm may also be affected hindering accuracy.
Lowering Your Risk
- Follow the age guidelines for pitching. They are designed to protect the players. Don’t try to get an early start on a good curve ball.
- Practice good warm-up habits with stretching and light throwing.
- Don’t pitch with elbow or shoulder pain. If rest doesn’t help or the pain immediately returns, consider visiting a physical therapist for evaluation.
- Learn from the pros–Don’t pitch consecutive days.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
After a thorough evaluation where other conditions have been ruled out, your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized plan tailored to your specific elbow condition and your athletic goals. There are many physical therapy treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating this condition.
Your physical therapist may focus on:
- Manual therapy techniques to reduce pain
- Functional training for more efficient pitching form
- Expanding your range of motion
- Strength Training
- Education to prevent future injury