Playing sports can often lead to injury, whether it is major or minor. And while softball isn't a contact sport, athletes are susceptible to injuries related to poor throwing or swinging form and impact due to sliding or being hit by a ball. One common result of poor form or an ill-aimed ball is elbow pain. The condition isn't serious, but can be very uncomfortable and will get worse if ignored.
Understanding the Elbow
Even though an elbow acts as a single entity, it is made up of an array of muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. To properly diagnose elbow pain, a person must first know the specifics of the elbow; then a proper knowledge of the injury can be obtained and a regimen can be started for rehabilitation.
Elbow pain can stem from overuse or overextension of the arm, coupled with poor form. This can be rotating the arm at odd angles, gripping the handle of a bat too hard or swinging a bat too hard while keeping the elbow high.
Elbow pain can also be the result of something straightforward and obvious, such as a hard-hit ground ball striking the elbow, resulting in discomfort or serious pain. Be extra careful in these situations, because impact trauma can lead to more serious injury.
The most common cases of softball elbow pain are medial epicondylitis---pain located in the medial epicondyle, or the bony protrusion on the inside of the elbow---and lateral epicondylitis---located in the lateral epicondyle, or two centimeters below the bony region on the outside of the elbow. Both injuries can be recognized by weakness in the wrist and experiencing pain while gripping, straightening the wrist or fingers against resistance, and pressure to the injured region. These injuries are often found in tennis, golf, and throwing sports.
Medial elbow ligament sprains occur when the ligaments or stabilizations around the inside of the elbow are damaged, causing the elbow to become tender and instable.
The top-recommended cure-all for elbow pain is rest. This means refraining from any activities that require extensive use of the elbow or wrist, such as softball-related workouts, writing, using a screwdriver, etc. Also, applying cold/hot therapy to the injured region will greatly reduce recovery time. Ice the injury for two days, using 15-minute intervals and then apply heat for two days.
Consult a sports injury specialist or a personal doctor for any other recommended treatments. They will most likely prescribe ultrasound or laser treatment, anti-inflammatory medicine, sports massage techniques or steroid injection, depending on the seriousness of the injury.
Once a sports injury specialist or doctor has approved renewed activity, start slow. Do not push the elbow, as re-injury will weaken the joint even more. Depending on the cause of the injury---poor throwing or hitting form---contact a coaching specialist to correct any of these errors in throwing/hitting form.
Invest in a brace or support as they will provide strength as well as reduce stress on the joint. Protective gear, such as elbow pads, can reduce the damage caused by direct impact.
Baseball Elbow Pain
Baseball elbow pain is a common occurrence in many sports, but the throwing motion and subsequent discomfort from baseball is a bit...
How to Take Care of an Arm After Pitching
Pro scouts look for hard throwers and tough competitors. But you have to temper your tenacity, take a break from the mound...