How Can Athletes Avoid Elbow Injury

Elbow SurgeryPatients who need elbow surgery are often heavily involved in sports. There are a few common causes of elbow injury in the sports world, and ways to reduce your chances of incurring this type of injury. Here’s what you should know to protect your elbows during athletics.

Tennis Elbow

This condition isn’t just related to tennis, but is a result of overuse during this sport and others. Repetitive motions such as swinging a racket and bending the elbow causes inflammation and the tendons are affected. Tennis elbow can be quite painful and may require elbow surgery. You’ll minimize your risk of developing tennis elbow by stretching well before you play or perform any activity requiring frequent elbow bends. Also, strive for good technique and form as well as working on your conditioning and muscle strength of the arm.

UCL Damage

Your elbow has a system of ligaments that allow operation, one of which is your Ulnar Collateral Ligament. In sports like baseball that require hard and repetitive throwing this ligament may become stretched or torn, requiring surgical correction. The procedure used to graft this ligament with another from the body is called Tommy John surgery, named after the first Major League pitcher to have the procedure done. Prevent or reduce the chance for UCL damage by warming up gradually before pitching a game, and avoid pitching consecutive games.

Golfer’s Elbow

Like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is caused by overuse of the elbow’s tendons. The difference between the two is that tennis elbow occurs on the outside of the elbow, whereas golfer’s elbow is felt on the inner elbow, and is often connected to wrist motion. You may experience tingling in your fingers or numbness in addition to pain. Prevention comes from ample stretching before activity, correct form and proper lifting techniques.

Proper conditioning and adequate warm-up are great ways to reduce your risk of a sports-related elbow injury, that may result in elbow surgery. Talk to your orthopedic specialist for more strategies to protect your joints during play.

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