Latest update from our client, South Florida International Orthopaedics about Elbow Injuries in Throwing Sports: What You Need to Know.

As an athlete competing in throwing sports, your elbows are your most valuable asset. Yet, they’re also susceptible to a range of injuries that can jeopardize your performance and sideline you from the game.

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In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about elbow injuries in throwing sports – from recognizing the warning signs of injury and implementing preventative measures to exploring treatment options and ensuring long-term elbow health.

What are the different types of elbow injuries associated with throwing?

Elbow injuries in throwing sports often stem from the repetitive and high-velocity nature of throwing motions.

These injuries can result from poor throwing mechanics, overuse, inadequate rest, or insufficient conditioning of the muscles and ligaments surrounding the elbow joint. The most common types of injuries include:

1. Medial epicondylitis (Golfer’s elbow)

This condition involves inflammation or irritation of the tendons on the inner side of the elbow, specifically the tendons that attach to the medial epicondyle (the bony prominence on the inner side of the elbow).

Symptoms may include pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow, weakness in gripping or lifting objects, and worsening pain with specific movements.

2. Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow)

Lateral epicondylitis is characterized by inflammation or irritation of the tendons on the outer side of the elbow, specifically the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (the bony prominence on the outer side of the elbow).

While it is commonly referred to as “tennis elbow,” it can also occur in due to repetitive stress on the wrist and forearm muscles.

Symptoms typically include pain and tenderness on the outer side of the elbow, especially with gripping, lifting, or twisting movements.

3. Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears

The UCL is a thick band of tissue on the inner side of the elbow that provides stability to the joint during throwing motions.

UCL tears can occur gradually over time due to repetitive stress on the ligament or suddenly due to a traumatic event, such as a forceful throw.

Symptoms may include pain on the inner side of the elbow, a feeling of instability or “looseness” in the joint, decreased throwing velocity or accuracy and swelling.

4. Flexor tendonitis

Flexor tendonitis involves inflammation or irritation of the tendons that flex the wrist and fingers, which can occur due to repetitive throwing motions.

Symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the forearm and elbow, particularly during and after throwing activities, and weakness in gripping or squeezing objects.

5. Olecranon bursitis

Olecranon bursitis is characterized by inflammation or irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac at the tip of the elbow.

Symptoms may include swelling, tenderness, and redness at the back of the elbow, as well as pain with movement or pressure on the area.

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