Friday, January 13, 2012

Causes of Thrower's Elbow Pain

Throwing any object in an overhand motion is rough on your arm, especially on your elbow. According to the Athletic Advisor, overhand throwing stresses the elbow joint which can lead to injuries. By understanding the causes of thrower's elbow you can take steps to prevent thrower's elbow and the catching sensations it can cause.
About Thrower's Elbow
According to The Stretching Institute, thrower's elbow is most commonly seen in baseball players, but can also show up in athletes who play cricket, javelin, tennis, softball and volleyball. Thrower's elbow is unique and different from other elbow conditions because it can affect both sides of the elbow according to The Stretching Institute. This means that pain can show up both on the inside or outside area of the elbow joint. This pain is caused by the two sides of the elbow working against each other during the throwing motion. According to TSI, throwing causes the medial side of the elbow to stretch, while the lateral side compresses. Compression can lead to fractures, bone chips and spurs, while the stretching action can lead to ligament damage.
The most common cause of thrower's elbow is overuse from repetitive overhand motions, according to The Stretching Institute. TSI notes that other less common causes can include direct contact injury, falling on the elbow, using improper technique or bad equipment.
Catching Sensation
Athletes with damage from thrower's elbow can feel a catching, clicking or locking sensation in the joint. This is most likely due to bone damage and bone spurs in the joint. These loose bone bodies can lead to further injury elsewhere in the elbow, including losing range of motion and a grinding or catching action when the elbow moves, notes Athletic Advisor. Without proper rest time or surgery to heal the area, the catching can get worse and lead to long term elbow pain and issues.
Treatment and Prevention
The Stretching Institute recommends warming up the arm, stretching the arm and strengthening the forearm muscles to help prevent thrower's elbow. In order to treat an already injured joint, TSI recommends resting until pain is gone and treat the initial injury with ice, compression and elevation. In some cases where bone chips are present, surgery may be required to "clean" up the problem areas and relieve pain. After pain is gone, a program to strengthen and restore range of motion is necessary to prevent further injury.

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