- How did you become interested in treating baseball injuries?
- I went to college at the University at Maryland and played baseball there for four years. Over this time, many of our pitchers developed shoulder or elbow pain. When I graduated with a degree in physical therapy, I had a natural interest in treating baseball injuries from the experiences of my past.
- What are the trends you are seeing with throwing injuries in baseball players at this time?
- Over the years, we are seeing more and more injuries to the shoulder and elbow with baseball players. A lot of this can be traced back to the fact that baseball is now a year round sport, so overuse is one of the major factors. Injuries seem to be increasing at every age level, so besides overuse there also could be musculoskeletal impairments with an individual as well as perhaps some mechanical issues with a throwing motion, which may be contributing to an injury.
- What do you recommend to a parent or athlete who begins to experience pain in their shoulder or elbow after or while throwing?
- The number one recommendation I can make would be to avoid throwing through pain. Throwing through pain generally worsens the condition and may do significantly more damage. The best course of action is to always have the painful area examined by a physician or a rehabilitation specialist to determine the extent of injury and when it would be safe to return to throwing activities.
- How can physical therapy benefit a patient experiencing pain in the throwing arm?
- It is always best to be examined by a physical therapist that has experience and knowledge when it comes to treating throwing injuries. The therapist will be able to take a thorough history, examine throwing extremity and identify what are the probable factors that led to the injury itself. From this information, proper steps can be taken and a rehabilitation program can be developed to address the impairments identified.
- How can a baseball player minimize the risk of injury or recurrence of injury?
- The best way to minimize the risk of injury is preventative. Avoiding overuse is certainly one of the biggest factors. In addition, being examined by an experienced physical therapist with the knowledge of baseball injuries can help prevent injury by addressing musculoskeletal impairments which may lead to the injury in the first place. Once these are identified, the athlete can then continue with an overall program to maintain the health of their throwing extremity.
PETER B. MCHUGH, PT, 40QA005178