Pitching Injury Prevention.

Any baseball fans out there following the Detroit Tigers pitching this season? If so, you have heard of the unfortunate injury of Tigers young pitcher Casey Mize. About a month ago, Mize was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear and was set to undergo Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks later. Most people familiar with baseball have heard this phrase “Tommy John,” but what it consists of is replacing the UCL with a ligament from elsewhere in the body. The rehabilitation from this surgery is extensive, however for an MLB pitcher such as Mize it will be even longer. The stresses pitching has on the elbow is excessive and therefore it will take anywhere from 12 months to 18 months. 

During the summer, young athletes are playing recreational or travel baseball/softball. During this time, it is important to keep our children healthy and prevent injury where we can. Research has shown that the Yokohama Baseball-9 is an adequate protocol that involves preventative stretching and strengthening for baseball players ages 8-11. Some examples of the strengthening exercises are rotator cuff strengthening, thoracic rotation, and single leg squats. Some examples of the stretching exercises include hip flexor stretch, open book thoracic rotation stretch, and wrist flexor stretching. This protocol was found to help prevent approximately 50% less UCL injuries. 

In our young pitching athletes, it is important that our pitchers are getting adequate rest. The American Sports Medicine Institute states that the following non-recommended activities increase the risk of pitching related arm pain: pitching consecutive days, pitching multiple games a day, and pitching on multiple teams with overlapping seasons. Other recommendations include not pitching more than 8 consecutive months. Adequate rest and reassuring our athletes that pain during sport is not okay and that it DOES increase risk of injury. Being advocates for our kids is important and needs to be at the forefront of our minds during sports even at an early age. If you or your child are experiencing any pain while playing Baseball or any sport, contact OMPT Specialists to set up a free consultation!

By Kaitlyn Mosher, PT, DPT, OMPT

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