March 1, 2021 at 6:36 pm · drsahai · 0 comments
Throwing puts a lot of stress on the elbow, especially overhand throwing. In sports, this high stress is repetitive. And overuse will often lead to throwing elbow injuries.
Overuse injuries occur over time, unlike acute injuries from an accident. Repetitive movements are the most common cause of overuse. In fact, many sports involve frequent and repetitive actions. There is no time to rest during a game or practice. The result is overuse and injury to the elbow.
The elbow is a hinge and pivot joint. You can bend and straighten your arm because of the hinge. And the pivot lets the lower arm rotate.
Three bones meet in your arm to form the elbow:
- The humerus or upper arm bone
- The radius and ulna or lower arm bones
Bones are not the only part of the elbow. In fact, thick ligaments hold the elbow joint together. The ulnar collateral ligament sits along the inside. This is the ligament that feels the stress of overhand throwing.
There are also muscles, tendons, and nerves crossing the elbow. So, the muscles help stabilize the joint. And the ulnar nerve controls the hand muscles. Overuse injuries, however, affect these muscles and nerves too.
Common Throwing Injuries
Throwing at high speeds over and over causes stress. The components of the elbow get overused. This can lead to a wide range of elbow injuries. Most force is exerted inside the elbow. So, this is where most problems occur.
- Flexor Tendinitis. The flexor tendons attach to the humerus bone. These can become irritated with repetitive throwing. Pain occurs along the inner side of the elbow.
- UCL Injury. The ulnar collateral ligament is frequently injured with throwing. And the UCL can get mild inflammation or be completely torn. In fact, athletes will feel pain and reduced velocity when throwing, causing a UCL Injury.
- Valgus Extension Overload. This involves the cartilage around the olecranon. When this becomes worn, bone spurs can develop. This is common in throwing sports. Pain and swelling occur where the bones meet.
- Olecranon Stress Fracture. These occur when muscles become stressed. Overused and tired muscles transfer stress to the bones. Tiny cracks, or stress fractures, can develop. The olecranon is the most commonplace for these fractures. The pain will be worse when throwing and also at rest.
- Ulnar Neuritis. Bending the elbow causes the ulnar nerve to stretch. So, if the nerve is repeatedly stretched, it can fall out of place. Throwing options can also cause snapping, which irritates the nerve. Athletes will feel light shocks from the “funny bone” to the forearm. There may also be numbness or tingling in the fingers.
Elbow injuries are common with throwing activities. The repetitive action wears down components in the elbow. Pain can resolve when the activities stop, however. It is even possible for non-athletes to develop these overuse injuries.
Also, see: Top Hand & Elbow Injuries
However, there is a significant link between elbow injury and baseball pitchers. The number of pitches, innings, and practices is related to high injury rates. Additionally, pitchers that are tall or heavy have a greater risk. Players that throw at high velocities or showcase their abilities also have a higher risk.
If you are searching for a top elbow specialist for throwing injuries look no further! We have offices located in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, and Plantation. So, call us at 888-409-8006.