OrthoVirginia Blog

How to Avoid Baseball Overuse Injuries

With spring training underway and opening day just around the corner, we would like to focus on how your young pitcher can avoid injury this baseball season. The most common injury in baseball is damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) from pitchers throwing too much. This ligament stabilizes the elbow during the pitching motion. When it becomes damaged, it can be difficult to repair and rehabilitate.

The following tips offer sound guidelines to prevent injury:

  1. Warm Up properly Be sure to warm up by jogging, stretching properly, and gradual throwing.
  2. Rotate positions The younger athlete, especially, should get experience in different positions on the team during the season.
  3. Age-appropriate pitching Famous pitchers like Nolan Ryan didn't start pitching until high school. Adhere to the following maximum pitch counts according to the player's age (counts are in pitches per game):
    • Age 7-8: 50
    • Age 9-10: 75
    • Age 11-12: 85
    • Age 13-16: 95
    • Age 17-18: 105
  4. Avoid pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons
  5. Do not pitch with elbow or shoulder pain. See a doctor if pain persists.
  6. Do not pitch on consecutive days.
  7. Do not play year round.
  8. Communicate regularly with your child about how his/her arm is feeling and if he/she is experiencing pain.
  9. Master easier pitches first Learn the fastball and change-up before learning the breaking pitches.
  10. Emphasize control, accuracy and good mechanics in young pitchers.
Austin G Johns
UCL injuries or "throwers elbow" can be seriously debilitating - particularly at a young age. As the new Return to Sport Post-Rehabilitative Program Director for OrthoVirginia, I have seen my share of young, talented individuals sidelined for this potentially life altering injury. Adhering to pitch counts, position rotation, and seasonal rest are some of the most important things throwing athletes can do to reduce the risk of UCL injury.

Should an injury occur, however, particularly those that require surgery, if the athlete doesn't recover properly before they return to throwing, another injury can be more than likely. A proper training routine which emphasizes stabilizing the upper body's flexibility on a powerful lower body and CORE base are essential to returning to good mechanics. This is where Return to Sport comes in. Our Upper Body recovery protocols consistently maintain shoulder stability and mechanics while not forgetting to integrate the lower body to support the upper half.

for more information about Return to Sport or how to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, feel free to e-mail me at Austin.johns@orthovirginia.com
11/8/2016 5:09:00 PM

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