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Every Pitcher Should Do This to Avoid Elbow and Shoulder Problems

February may not be prime time for baseball in New Jersey, but major league spring training games start at the end of the month. For pitchers of any age, it’s also time to work on form to avoid repetitive strain overuse injuries in the elbow and shoulder. 

Overhead throwing places tremendous strain on the rotator cuff — the structure of soft tissue that stabilizes the shoulder. The elbow can also sustain tendon, ligament, and nerve issues from dysfunctional pitching motions. 

At Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, P.C., our doctors specialize in sports medicine services, including elbow and shoulder pain. When it comes to pitching, the best strategy is avoiding injury, and preparation before the season is the best way to lower your risk. 

The nature of overuse injuries

It’s said that practice makes perfect. But that assumes your mechanics and form are optimal. Repeating pitching motions with poor form stresses joints, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. 

When one component of a joint structure weakens due to overuse, the remaining parts must compensate, which could lead to further injury. 

Common injuries to the shoulder resulting from overhead throwing motions include: 

The elbow experiences similar injuries, such as: 

Nerve irritation is another common result of repeated throwing motions. 

Avoiding elbow and shoulder problems when pitching

Pitching isn’t just an arm motion. You throw with your entire body. When you check in with the team at Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, P.C., we provide advice about dealing with overuse injuries and recommend strategies to avoid difficulties in the future. Consider these tips to keep your game in top shape. 

Work with a qualified pitching coach

Balanced form and throwing mechanics can prevent the unbalanced loads under force that cause strain and stress injuries. Good technique reduces potentially troublesome motions. 

Develop shoulder flexibility

Pitching with stiff shoulders impacts performance, mainly due to reduced internal rotation. Improved shoulder flexibility reduces injury risk. 

Strength development

Many elbow problems resolve as you involve your back, core, and thigh muscles in your pitching motion. Building strength in these muscle groups takes the strain off your elbow. 

Don’t play through pain

Discomfort and fatigue lead to breakdowns in technique. Recognize the signs and understand the importance of rest. 

Call or click to book a session with our professionals at Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, P.C. We offer sports performance evaluations to stop problems before they start. Plan your visit today.

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