How Do Elbow Injuries Affect Baseball Players?
The World Series is in town, and for the first time the Washington Nationals will be playing to make their mark on history! The Nationals have been successful this year for many reasons, but mainly because they have been able to keep their player-injury rates low. For baseball players, especially pitchers, there can be no worse pain than elbow pain. The medial elbow goes through tremendous torque and stress during the throwing motion and the result can be inflammation to the elbow or even the dreaded Tommy John injury.
Tommy John surgery refers to a surgical repair of a ligament in your elbow called the ulnar collateral ligament. The surgery is named after a former Major League Baseball pitcher, Tommy John, who pitched for 26 seasons and amassed over 250 wins. He was the first pitcher to have his ulnar collateral ligament repaired. Previous injury to this ligament was career ending, however, more than half of his wins occurred after injuring his elbow and he made the Major League Baseball All Star Game 4 times after his surgery.
In the pictures above, the ulnar collateral ligament is in green and the picture to the right represents all the muscles the support the ligament. As you can see, the medial elbow is well protected by muscles. These muscles help to distribute the forces placed on the elbow during throwing. Injury to the ligament can only occur when the muscles become injured themselves or weak. Spencer Kieboom is a catcher with the Washington Nationals and one of their top prospects. He has been on the disabled list since September 8th with inflammation of his elbow. Baseball players with diagnosed inflammation of the muscles and tendons around the elbow are treated with extreme caution. They are often removed from throwing for several weeks to allow the swelling and pain to subside and allow the muscles to return to normal strength. Failure to allow time for repair will often result in damage to the UCL and surgery. If a player has to get surgery, they do not return to playing for 18 months. For some Major League players, this injury can be career ending.
Here at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center (VTFC) we specialize in helping athletes prevent injury and avoid surgery. If you suffering from elbow pain do not hesitate to give us a call and schedule an appointment with one of highly trained and effective physical therapists. We will help alleviate your pain and keep you on the field.
Let’s Go Nats!!!