Seven Throwing Injuries and How to Treat Them in Bergen County

Overuse Injury from Throwing? See a Sports Medicine Specialist.

While athletes can make efforts to prevent injuries, they are not always successful. For instance, even with strengthening exercises and plenty of rest, overuse injuries can arise from the repeated use of a certain body part. Overhead throwing athletes are more prone to shoulder or elbow injuries than other athletes because they must repeatedly use their throwing arm. Fortunately, throwing injury treatments are available at our Bergen County office in North Jersey.

At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, our Sports Medicine and Shoulder & Elbow specialists have seen it all. We understand each sports injury is unique and requires a thorough examination. Below are just some of the most common throwing injuries that impact elbows and shoulders. Within the details of each injury, you will find mainly non-operative treatments our doctors will advise before surgery. Please seek the instructions of a medical professional before treating your injury.

Elbow Throwing Injuries

  • Flexor Tendonitis: Flexor tendonitis is categorized by inflammation surrounding the flexor/pronator tendons, which are attached to the humerus bone. With most forms of tendonitis, rest, stretching, ice, and eventually physical therapy exercises are initially recommended. Your Sports Medicine doctor may suggest an arm brace to stabilize your condition for a period of time.

  • Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tear: The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), also known as the Tommy John Ligament, is the main ligament in the elbow joint that provides stabilization during the act of throwing. A tear to the UCL may occur from chronic repetitive motion or from a single traumatic event, such as falling onto an outstretched arm. Symptoms vary from gradual soreness to abrupt pain.

    Patients who tear this ligament should rest their arm and elbow, apply ice, and take prescribed anti-inflammatory medications. A Sports Medicine specialist may recommend wearing a brace to improve stability while the ligament heals. You might also consider attending physical therapy to strengthen the area. These conservative treatments can help athletes return to their sports in approximately three or four months.

    Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has also been effective in treating UCL injuries in younger athletes. During this procedure, a doctor takes some of the patient’s own blood and places it in a filtration system. The red blood cells break down from the platelets, releasing proteins and other particles that support the healing process. The developed substance is then injected back into the damaged joint to foster new soft tissue and bone growth. Ask a Rothman Orthopaedic Institute doctor if this treatment option is suitable for your injury.

  • Stress Fractures: When muscles grow fatigued and are unable to absorb the shock of pressure and movements, the stress gets transferred to the bone, causing stress fractures. These tiny cracks in the bone form from repetitive use or by increasing the amount of intensity with which one uses a particular body part. The olecranon and the medial epicondyle of the humerus are two common locations for stress fractures in throwing athletes.

    While some stress fractures only require a few weeks of rest to heal, others will need a surgical procedure to repair the bones and relieve pain.

Shoulder Throwing Injuries

  • Labral Tear: Within the shoulder joint is a supportive cuff of cartilage known as the labrum. This cuff wraps around and protects the shoulder socket. A tear can occur from an acute injury or from wear-and-tear that accompanies aging. Non-operative treatment for a labral tear includes ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and an exercise program to rehabilitate the area.

  • Bursitis: Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that aid smooth and painless motions in joints. Bursitis is diagnosed when the bursae become inflamed and the excess fluid causes pain. Depending on the severity of your case, your doctor may want to use steroid injections to alleviate some of the pain in your shoulder. Other treatment methods include prescribed oral medications, ice, and rest.

  • Rotator Cuff Tear: Your rotator cuff consists of four muscles that attach the humerus to the shoulder blade, protecting your arm. There are multiple types of tears. A partial tear indicates a damaged tendon that is not totally severed, while a full-thickness tear completely separates the tendon from the bone.

    Non-operative treatment includes rest, activity modification, physical therapy, and prescribed medications for pain relief. If your pain does not improve with conservative treatment after a period of time, your doctor will suggest surgery. There are numerous surgical repair options for rotator cuff tears you and your doctor can discuss.

  • Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit (GIRD): This shoulder condition occurs when the repetitive throwing motion causes the shoulder to lose internal rotation ability. GIRD may also occur with scarring of the joint capsule, labral tears, rotator cuff tears, and scapula dyskinesis. The typical treatment for GIRD is posterior capsular stretching and strengthening through physical therapy.

Choose Rothman Orthopaedic Institute for Throwing Injury Treatment in Bergen County

The Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Sports Medicine and Shoulder & Elbow teams sees approximately 80,000 athletes per year for a variety of throwing injuries. We have the knowledge and experience to care for your condition and support you through recovery. To learn more about throwing injury treatment in Bergen County, or to schedule an appointment at our North Jersey office, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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