Spring is underway and so is the urge to get out of the house, shake the dust off our bones and engage in fun activities like baseball, golf and tennis.
These days elbow injuries are commonplace for both athletes and the ‘weekend warrior.’ In Major League Baseball alone there are 62 reported elbow injuries, according to MLB.com. Among these are Yankees’ prospect James Kaprielian and Rays’ prospect Jose De Leon, both currently on the disabled list due to elbow issues. Also making a comeback after 2 years from recovering from Tommy John surgery is the Mets’ Zach Wheeler.
So how do we prevent being benched from the sports we love to participate in? Here are a few tips to avoid elbow injury.
…or lack there of is where it all begins! It is important to meet with an experienced coach or therapist to evaluate incorrect form. For baseball players compensating at the elbow because of a lack of shoulder external rotation during throwing can cause elbow strain. These issues must be addressed to prevent injury.
- Warm up
Before play, warm up to reduce strain. Start your warm up with heat over the affected elbow for 10 minutes, and then light aerobics, followed by stretches to the forearm and upper arm.
- Cold down
After sport activity such as pitching, perform stretches to the forearm and upper arm. Then, ice down the affected elbow for 10-15 minutes.
- Forearm and shoulder strength
It is important to keep the shoulder and forearm strong between games. This will prevent injury and improve the endurance of the muscles, making compensatory actions and poor form a thing of the past.
- Get help
When pain continues, especially closer to the elbow joint, seek medical attention immediately. The longer you wait to get help, the longer it may rehabilitation may take.
Now that you are armed with tips to prevent you from being benched, good luck!
Deana Swanson OTR/L, CHT
Occupational/Hand Therapist, Nutley Midtown