Elbow Hurts From Throwing Baseball
S-T-R-I-K-E! You’re out! This is the time of the year that you hear these words shouted from jacked up umpires at the baseball diamond. If you’re not careful, you could literally be “OUT” on the sidelines because of a hurt elbow from throwing the baseball.
The majority of baseball players both at the professional and amateur levels will at some point experience a hurt elbow related to throwing the baseball either too much or too hard. And it’s to no surprise when we really think about the mechanics of throwing a baseball and how much strain, pressure and rotation there is around your elbow joint and forearm, not to mention how many times during a game you actually throw the ball.
The actual term for this type of injury is called throwers elbow and it doesn’t just affect pitchers. It is not as frequently reported as let’s say tennis elbow or golfers elbow. Where tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow and golfers elbow affects the inside of the elbow, throwers elbow is impacts both the inside and outside of the elbow.
When someone suffers an injury such as throwers elbow, the tendons and ligaments that support the elbow joint both on the upper and lower side of the forearm become inflamed, stretched and sometimes torn. Due to the repetitive nature of the action of throwing a baseball, overtime these ligaments and tendons start to wear down and eventually “break” as they can’t take the strain and stress any longer.
It’s not uncommon for baseball players to feel hurt in their elbow one day and then the next time they throw a baseball, no pain. This is because depending on the amount of time in between games, their elbow may have had time to “repair” but really it hasn’t, it just feels better. This is not a good sign and if you decide to keep pushing it, your injury will get worse!
What usually happens is that when your elbow hurts, you have torn a small tendon leading to your elbow, either on the top or bottom of your forearm. When you take a few days away from the field, these tendons start to heal so you feel better and depending on the amount of time in between games, the next time you throw a ball, you may feel fine and have no elbow pain. But all it takes is one simple throw and SNAP, you tear again.
Now, this is when more serious problems can occur. When you tear the tendons, and then it “heals” and then you tear again, you build up scar tissue and even calcium deposits. The problem with scar tissue is that it is extremely hard to break down and sometimes the only way to get rid of it, is with invasive elbow surgery. Also, scar tissue and calcium deposits can become so prevalent in your forearm that it can cut off blood circulation and pinch the nerves that are responsible for the movement of your forearm muscles.
The tell tale signs of throwers elbow is pain on both sides of your elbow joint but can also radiate down the forearm as far as the wrist. It’s uncommon to experience some swelling, tingling and numbness in your forearm or elbow region.
So what can you do to prevent throwers elbow?
The great news is that the treatment techniques for throwers elbow is the same as that for tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is a repetitive strain injury where the extensor tendon that attaches at your lateral epicondyle suffers a small tear from performing repetitive actions and movements where you have elbow rotation combined with wrist flexion or extension, such as throwing a baseball.
Tennis elbow can be treated and cured at home using 5 simple, step-by-step techniques at home while sitting in your comfy chair, watching TV without the need for any special exercise equipment or gadgets – so you can spend more time on the baseball diamond and less time sitting on the sidelines in the dugout!