Repetitive motions or overuse of the elbow sometimes lead to throwing injuries. People who play sports are more susceptible to this type of damage but not exclusively. Pay particular attention to children with growing bones who play sports, especially if their sport doesn’t have an off season.
Ever throw a baseball, a rock or even a wad of paper and something just doesn’t feel right? When the elbow is strained after repeated motion or if you use bad form in your pitching motion, an injury can occur. With an overhand throw, ligaments and tendons can stretch and create micro-tears. Over time as the cartilage recedes, the bones begin rubbing together, causing pain. Fractures and bone spurs sometimes form if the bones have rubbed together for a longer period of time.
Pain on the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inside of the elbow can occur. Tingling, weakness and numbness also sometimes occur in the elbow, arm or fingers if the ulnar nerve is compressed or stretched due to this type of injury. Pain may be intermittent or constant; it can vary depending on the severity of the injury.
Many throwing injuries of the elbow can be treated with conservative measures such as ice, rest, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. However, should the pain persist, physicians at The Spine & Pain Center can prescribe medication to help ease discomfort, and recommend the use of a sling to help the elbow heal. Physical therapy can help restore flexibility, range of motion or correct the throwing motion position. Other treatment options include steroid injections and pain management techniques. In worse cases, surgery may be necessary to remove bony fragments or to repair torn tissue causing pain.