It’s that time of year…spring! And with the blooming of the crocuses and forsythia, comes the much-anticipated sport of baseball! Many high school athletes are taking to the baseball field in anticipation of a great season!
What most athletes don’t anticipate; however, is a condition called pitcher’s elbow, which results from repetitive throwing. This condition begins with a pain on the inner side of the elbow. It can be treated with rest and ice if there is swelling. It is when the condition is left untreated that it could become a potentially serious problem, one that may require surgery.
Pitchers aren’t the only ones at risk. It can affect outfielders, infielders and catchers, too. It is more dangerous for the younger athlete because their bones are still growing and this strain on the ligaments and tendons could affect their bone growth. The ligaments and tendons are repeatedly being stretched and this could cause them to pull away from the bone.
A doctor will be able to diagnose pitcher’s elbow with the use of an X-ray and by talking to the athlete to gain an understanding of how much they throw in a typical day and how long they practice.
Immediately, the athlete should stop throwing and rest the elbow. It is recommended that the athlete place ice packs on the elbow to relieve any swelling. For the quickest re-entry back into the game, the athlete should consult a sports physical therapy in downers grove for rehabilitation exercises, including strength and coordination.
A therapist can teach the athlete how to improve their form while improving the strength and health of their muscles. They will also make the final determination of when the athlete is safely able to get back to playing ball.