What is Pitcher’s Elbow?
Also known as Valgus Extension Overload and medial epicondyle apophysitis, pitcher’s elbow is mostly seen in baseball players. This is due to the rapid and intense throwing motion involved when passing and pitching the baseball, leading to damage and injury to parts of the elbow. This causes swelling and pain while limiting the flexibility of the arm.
Pitcher’s Elbow Symptoms
Pitcher’s elbow symptoms include:
– Tenderness and swelling around the inside of the elbow
– Weakening of the grip
– Weakening of throwing strength
– Arm cramps
– Loss of motion, strength, and flexibility in the elbow
– Discomfort when engaging the forearm muscles for everyday tasks, such as twisting doorknobs
– Lingering soreness inside the elbow
Pitcher’s Elbow Causes
As pitcher’s elbow is almost exclusively seen in baseball players, the causes are mostly related to the sport itself. Risk factors for pitcher’s elbow include:
– Young Age: Adolescents have a higher rate of experiencing pitcher’s elbow than adults, as they still have developing elbow structures that are more susceptible to damage. This age range is usually between 9 and 14.
– Too Much Pitching: As pitcher’s elbow is an injury caused by overuse, too much pitching is a huge risk factor for the injury. The upper limit for pitching should be around 75 per game or 3000 per year, but if a pitcher is feeling fatigued in the elbow during a game, it is recommended that they stop and rest.
– Bad Technique: Throwing with the wrong technique or by using the wrong muscles can further increase the risk for pitcher’s elbow.
How is Pitcher’s Elbow treated?
While rest and home remedies can help pitcher’s elbow, physical therapy is recommended for accelerating the recovery process and making sure the healing is complete. The core goals of physical therapy should involve strengthening and stretching exercises related to rebuilding strength, flexibility, and stability in the arm and elbow.