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Preventing Baseball Injuries

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Baseball injuries in young athletes are on the rise. Every year, thousands of young athletes are seen complaining of elbow or shoulder pain. In fact, elbow and shoulder injuries in children are on the verge of becoming an epidemic. The most common injury is damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). This is often caused by pitchers throwing too frequently. The UCL is the main stabilizer of the elbow for the motions of pitching. When it becomes damaged, it can be difficult to repair and rehabilitate.

When young athletes are throwing too hard, too often, too early, and without rest, a serious elbow or shoulder injury may be on the horizon. The athlete may be experiencing an injury if:

  • He/she complains of elbow or shoulder pain the day after throwing

  • Movement of the joint is painful or restricted compared to the opposite side


The most obvious treatment for overuse is rest, especially from the activity that created the injury. Ice is also used to reduce soreness and inflammation. Ibuprofen can be taken to help with any pain.


If symptoms persist, it is critical that you contact your physician, especially when there is a lack of full-joint motion. A simple “rest cure” approach is often not enough. Even though this allows symptoms to subside, it can also create loss of tone, muscle bulk, flexibility, and endurance. Once the pain is gone and full motion has returned, the athlete can start a throwing rehabilitation program.

Be aware that overuse and stress related problems in children and young athletes can affect growing parts of bone. (Not just the soft tissue...muscles, tendons, and ligaments). If the condition goes untreated, it could cause deformity of the limb and permanent disability. The athlete should return to play only after clearance is granted by your physician.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a sports related injury, contact Dr. Bynum for an appointment at (239) 337-2003.

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