Unlike with high impact sports such as football, it seems that baseball is relatively safe to play and the risk for injury is low. On the other hand, many players are not aware that throwing during baseball can add a certain degree of strain on the body. The strain occurs when whipping the arm around to sling a baseball at fast speeds. This places strain on the muscles, joints and tendons, especially at the elbow.
What is elbow tendonitis?
Individuals who play baseball who end up with pain during throwing are typically suffering from tendonitis. Take note that elbow tendonitis involves inflammation of the region around the elbow.
The elbow is comprised of a series of tendons, muscles, bones and ligaments. Once these areas are overly worked or damaged, they become swollen which results to pain in the elbow as well as the neighboring areas when throwing a baseball. Specifically, the issue starts where the tendons connect muscles to bone.
What are the possible causes?
The cause of elbow pain during throwing is constant overuse which leads to the wearing down of the interior structures of the elbow. When an individual throws a baseball, the tendons on the exterior of the arm are stretched to full capacity. Equally, the tendons on the interior of the arm are compressed.
The issue is worsened among players who do not warm up properly and stretch the tendons that are cold and stiff. Among those who throw often, the constant high speed motion can trigger weakness in the tendons, eventually resulting to small-sized fractures as well as inflammation. Elbow tendonitis is quite common among young individuals who have not yet observed proper prevention tactics.
What are the symptoms?
The indications of elbow tendonitis include elbow pain and stiffness when the elbow is moved. When playing baseball, the symptoms are present mostly with throwing movements.
The individual will also notice swelling around the elbow. The pain is focused around the elbow but can spread from the upper arm all the way down to the wrist.
The usual treatment for elbow tendonitis is getting enough rest for up to 8 weeks depending on the case. Aside from rest, regular application of an ice pack is required to minimize the swelling and inflammation. In severe cases, pain medications are also prescribed.
The ideal way to avoid the development of elbow tendonitis is to warm up properly and stretch before throwing at full capacity. It is best to start the practice or games by working initially with light throwing sessions while waiting for the arm to warm up properly.
Individuals who pitch must spend some time with warm up before throwing at full speed. Once the elbow is warmed up, stretch the whole arm starting from the wrist up to the shoulder. In between the innings, the player must use a sweatshirt or jacket to keep the tendons warm.