By: Leanza Lopez, PT, DPT
Like many baseball players, my brother started playing at a young age. It all began with weekends watching him play Tee-Ball and since then we’ve enjoyed watching him grow into the great high school athlete he is today.
In physical therapy school, we discuss the rehabilitation of several injuries commonly seen in the overhead athlete. I couldn’t help but think of my brother while discussing some of the most common injuries seen in youth baseball players like little leaguer’s elbow and ulnar collateral injuries which can lead to the commonly known Tommy John Surgery.
Pitch Volume Reduction Efforts Have Not Substantially Reduced Injury Rates!
With nearly 50% of adolescent baseball pitchers reporting pain in the shoulder and elbow while throwing during the season, we must implement programs to protect the arm before the pain develops into a serious injury requiring extensive rehabilitation1. Rather, we need programs like A.C.E. Prep that shift the focus to prevention through arm care. Injury prevention efforts, like pitch volume reduction, are not enough as they have not substantially reduced injury rates over the last decade2.
With youth overhead athletes starting at a young age and committing many hours to practice, arm care programs have become critical in promoting the longevity of our athletes.
How do we define Arm Care?
For years, arm care exercise programs focused on upper body strengthening and stretching. However, overhead activities involve full-body movement patterns requiring appropriate kinetic linking of both the upper and lower body to reduce injury.
Arm care is training the upper and lower body to work together through strengthening, range of motion, and dynamic stability exercises to keep the arm healthy. In other words, we will strengthen the entire kinetic chain, promote optimal flexibility and range of motion, and teach you how to utilize that strength and mobility while you are playing your sport.
Join A.C.E. Prep and our mission to keep the arm healthy!
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1. Makhni EC, Morrow ZS, Luchetti TJ, et al. Arm pain in youth baseball players: a survey of healthy players. Am J Sports Med. 2014;43:41-46.
2. Matsel KA, Butler RJ, Malone TR, Hoch MC, Westgate PM, Uhl TL. Current Concepts in Arm Care Exercise Programs and Injury Risk Reduction in Adolescent Baseball Players: A Clinical Review. Sports Health. 2021;13(3):245-250.