Injuries are common in throwing athletes, especially in baseball, especially with pitchers. The repetitive stresses on the elbow and shoulder lead to a number of overuse injuries. Similar injuries are also seen in other sports, such as tennis or volleyball, that require repetitive overhand motions.
What causes it?
When athletes throw repeatedly, with velocity, significant stresses are placed on the structures of the shoulder and elbow joints. Said another way, as one structure is weakened due to repetitive stresses, other structures must step in to pick up the slack. Injuries will result, most often in the shoulder with the rotator cuff or labrum, or in the elbow with an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).
How do you know you have it?
Typical symptoms of a throwing injury are:
- Pain during and after throwing
- Loss of throwing velocity
- Numbness and tingling
- Loss of motion and strength
How we fix it
OSI sports medicine experts are here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of throwing injuries of the elbow and shoulder. While under our expert care, you may undergo the following:
- Physical exam: Following a discussion of your medical history and symptoms, your OSI physician will conduct a thorough examination, performing a number of tests to assess range of motion, stability, and strength, as well as to try to pinpoint the precise location of the pain.
- Imaging tests: X-ray or MRI may be used to determine the extent of the injuries to the structures of the elbow/shoulder.
Nonsurgical treatment options for many throwing injuries prove successful:
- Activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Corrective mechanics
- Cortisone injections
Different surgical options are available, depending on such factors as the type of injury, as well as your anatomy and age. The selection is based on the health needs of the individual. Arthroscopy is the preferred choice for many throwing injuries. Ligament tears may need reconstruction.