Suppose you are a hobbyist baseball player in Calgary.
You really like to play on your weekends with your friends or family in one of the beautiful Ogden parks (or baseball fields) in your community, like Lynnwood Park or Lynnwood Ridge Park or George Moss Park, or the very nice Carburn Park in the Riverbend community.
Sadly after a very lovely baseball season, you began to feel some pain in the inner side of your elbow.
So what has happened?!
A significant number of hobbyist and professional baseball players (up to 12.4% of professional players) suffer from elbow injuries.
Pitcher’s elbow is a prominent injury of those injuries.
What is pitcher’s elbow?
Pitcher’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is a condition resulting from the elbow joint’s overuse. This condition is a form of tendinitis that affects the tendons and muscles that attach to the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow (the medial epicondyle).
Pitcher’s elbow is seen most often in baseball pitchers but can also occur in other athletes who frequently use their arms in overhead motions, such as tennis players, swimmers, and weightlifters.
The primary symptom of pitcher’s elbow is pain on the inside of the elbow that worsens with activity. The pain is often described as a dull ache aggravated by throwing or other arm motions.
In some cases, the pain may be severe enough to limit an athlete’s ability to participate in their sport. Other symptoms of pitcher’s elbow include weakness of the affected arm, loss of range of motion, and tenderness to touch.
Causes and risk factors
Pitcher’s elbow is caused by the overuse of the muscles and tendons attached to the medial epicondyle. The condition is seen most often in baseball pitchers, who place repeated stress on the elbow joint with the overhead motions of pitching.
However, athletes who frequently use their arms in overhead motions, such as tennis players, swimmers, and weightlifters, can also develop pitcher’s elbow.
Pitcher’s elbow is treated with a combination of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy may also be recommended to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the elbow joint.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue or release the tightened muscles and tendons around the elbow.
Prevention of pitcher’s elbow is focused on avoiding the overuse of the elbow joint. This can be accomplished by limiting the amount of time spent participating in activities that place stress on the elbow, such as baseball pitching.
Cross-training with other activities that don’t stress the elbow is also important. Wearing elbow pads or other protective gear can help to cushion the elbow joint and reduce the risk of developing pitcher’s elbow.