Baseball Pitching Injuries
Baseball is played in the American high-schools and colleges as well. Even thought the sport might not be considered too extreme for the human body, it is. Of course, you can not compare it to football, because that is a contact sport, but one movement in baseball can cause serious injuries to the body. The orthopedic specialists at Rush University Medical Center have warned the players about the injuries which might occur because of the throwing. The pitching can put a heavy toll on the shoulders, and injuries related to it are more frequent than one might have thought.
Dr. Shane Seroyer, lead author of the report and sports medicine fellow at Rush stated that the process of throwing a ball is one of the most aggressive maneuver that any joint in the body is subjected to. The movement is very fast and it is very violent. He stated that the key for a long career is the prevention of the injury. The pitchers should limit the types and numbers of pitches they perform if they want to minimize the risk of developing an injury.
Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph, sports medicine specialist at Rush and co-author of the report stated that the pitchers who are younger than 14 should limit their pitches to fast ball and change-up pitches. He stated that these pitchers should avoid curve balls as they put a heavy toll on the shoulder and can damage it. He stated that the pitchers between 9 and 10 years old should not throw more than 50 pitches per game, and that they should limit the pitches to 75 per week.
The ones with ages between 11 and 12 should not throw more than 75 pitches per game and that they should limit the pitches to 100 per week. The ones with ages between 13 and 14 should not throw more than 75 pitches per game and that they should limit the pitches to 125 per week. The 14 year old pitchers should be allowed to throw curveball pitches when they reach that age, and the 17 year old pitchers should be able to start throwing slider pitches.
Seroyer stated that if an injury occurs, then the person should manage the injury by resting and rehabilitating. If they do so, they will increase the chances of recovering, and they will decrease the need for surgery in the future. There are six phases of the throwing, and the experts say that the injury can occur in any of these phases. These six phases are wind-up, early cocking/stride, late cocking, acceleration, deceleration and follow-through. Various specialists from the Rush University stated that it is very difficult to diagnose the pain which occurs from overhead throwing. They believe that the shoulder pain can emanate from different sources, and the most common ones are damaged cartilage, rotator cuff injury, abnormal scapula movement, impingement, and neurovascular disorders.
When the cartilage is injured, then the shoulder joint will suffer trauma. The pitchers who perform the overhand throws are the most susceptible to the labral tears. These tears usually occur during the cocking and acceleration phases of overhead throwing. The cartilage can also wear down because of the overhead throw. The rotator cuff, which is a term given to the group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder can also lead to muscle tear and to tendonitis. The experts say that the overhead throw is the most common reason for injury at the rotator cuff, but they also say that the other pitches could cause the injury as well.
The more the pitcher will throw in an overhead manner, the more intense the pain he experiences will be. After experiencing pain, he will experience a decrease in velocity and weakness in his shoulder. It is very common for the pitcher to experience night pain down the arm to the elbow. The pitchers should condition their shoulder and they should perform the pitches in a correct manner. Resorting to surgery is a bad thing, as in most of the cases, the shoulder will not improve from the surgery, and they will have to call it quits. The scapular pain, or shoulder blade pain occurs when the shoulder blade is placed in an unusual position during the pitch. The injury can lead to the “dead arm” syndrome, when the person feels his arm as if it were numb.
Impingement often happens when the arm is lifted, and the pain mostly occurs during the cocking and early acceleration phases of the throw. Impingement can cause swelling, tenderness, pain, and stiffness. The treatment for impingement can be nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, stretching to improve range of motion, and rest. Surgery might also be required in the case of impingement. The neurovascular injuries occur when the blood vessels and the nerves are pinched, blocked, or compressed. When that occurs, the pitcher will feel fatigue, pain, loss of velocity, numbness, and weakness in the arm. The pitcher might also experience tingling sensations in the arm. These disorders are very rare, but when they occur it is very difficult to recover from them. Surgery might be required, but the rest and thrombolytic and anticoagulation injections could also solve the problem.
The non-operative treatment is successful in about 60 percent of the pitchers, and for the rest surgery is the only solution. Seroyer mentioned that the best way of protecting yourself against injury is to throw in the proper manner, to perform stretches, and to relax the arm as much as possible. You should perform core conditioning, scapular and rotator cuff muscle strengthening if you have problems with your shoulder. Keep this in mind, and play ball!11