Elbow Hurts from Throwing Football
TOUCHDOWN! This is what every football player loves to hear. “Put 6 points on the board”! But these points sometimes come at a cost. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned quarterback or recreational football player, it’s not uncommon to experience pain in your shoulder or elbow after a game or simply from having a friendly catch with a friend in your yard. So why exactly do so many players, especially quarterbacks say, “my elbow hurts from throwing the football“.
If we stop to think about the mechanics behind throwing a football, you’ll quickly understand why your elbow hurts from throwing a football. First, you need a tight grip on the ball with your fingers gripping the football threads. Next, you bring your arm back and form a 90 degree angle at your elbow and lastly you release the ball, as your fingers help rotate the ball clockwise as your arm follows through and finishes across your body, hopefully ending with a nice tight spiral on the ball to your intended target for a touchdown.
When you grip down on the football, you are engaging all of your hand, wrist and forearm flexors and muscles. As you can imagine, if you throw the football let’s say 120 times a game, this repetitive task creates much strain and stress on these flexors, tendons and muscles. As a result, after the game you experience pain, swelling and inflammation at the elbow simply because of wear and tear on these muscles and tendons.
So what exactly should you do when your elbow hurts from throwing the football? The first recommendation is to use ice on your elbow. Throw some ice cubes in a plastic bag, rap the bag in a towel and apply it to your elbow. If you don’t have any ice, a bag of frozen peas or vegetables will do the trick. NEVER apply ice directly to the skin!
Next, elevate your arm with a pillow to get it above heart level in order to avoid blood pooling and to help decrease the pain, swelling and inflammation. Keep the ice applied for at least 10-15 minutes. Ice your arm twice a day for 3 days to help eliminate the swelling, pain and inflammation.
If you are getting ready for football season, you should start your sport specific training exercises at least 6 weeks before your first game. This will help strengthen all of the arm, elbow and shoulder muscles required to throw the football which will help avoid injury as you start the season but more importantly keep you in the game instead of on the sidelines.
Now if your elbow still hurts after 3 days of applying ice, you may have done a little more damage and actually have suffered an injury. The most common elbow injury suffered by football players from the throwing the football is a repetitive strain injury called tennis elbow. No, you don’t have to play tennis to suffer from tennis elbow. The name comes from the first reported case of this specific injury was by a tennis player, hence the name, tennis elbow.
95% of all reported cases of tennis elbow each year actually come from non-tennis players!
The good news is that you can eliminate your tennis elbow pain without having to spend hundreds of dollars of your hard earned cash on physio, doctors, elbow braces/splints or taking anti-inflammatories day in and day out…
And even better, you don’t have to give up playing football or sit on the sidelines because your elbow hurts from throwing the football!