This is why you NEED to take care of your arm

so i’ve always thrown hard, even when i was young i had a very strong arm for my age… never had any arm injuries or anything like that… i was always one of those kids that could just pick-up a ball and start throwing hard and be good to go right away… never a need to stretch, air it out or anything like that… just start with light toss and gradually increase in intensity. As i got older after i pitched i would notice soreness afterwards, but nothing out of the ordinary…

but as i got older, perfected mechanics more, and started throwing harder than ever, i had a set back… after one bullpen side session, just throwing a mix of fastballs and change ups i noticed so unusual elbow pain… but i figured it was because it was my first bullpen session of the off season (this past December) so 4 or 5 days later i had another side session, and this one was bothered the whole 30 pitch duration by moderate elbow pain… but i worked through it… same thing, another 5 days later another side session, only this time i couldn’t even throw harder than 50% without SEVERE pain. Talked it over with the pitching coach and athletic trainer, tendinitis came to mind, so i saw my primary care and was prescribed anti inflammatorys and told to rest it a bit… so i did… but it didn’t get better.

some 2 weeks later i finally saw an orthopedist, and sure enough an MRI revealed a torn UCL… he could even see it on x-rays. Not wanting to jump right into surgery i tried to go the route of extensive rehab, PT 2 or 3 times a week, strengthening, stretching, you name it… thought i was doing well until April when throwing at high intensity (near 90% of my ability) off of a mound… felt a twinge of pain and the football player inside of me told me to keep going… sure enough next pitch it popped and all my rehab work was for nothing…

fast forward to where i am now, 15 days after tommy john surgery, and a longgg way from getting back up on the mound.

Why am i telling you this? So it doesn’t happen to you… i still even see it in my highschool… kids not taking care of their arms, and it drives me nuts now! Your arm is your life in this game, you’ve got to take care of it!
This is my new favorite saying:
Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up. It really is true… i’ve been through hell trying to get back, and the worst part is it could of all been prevented if i just took better care of my arm… don’t learn the hard way like i did, take my advice and take care of your arm!

Sorry to see that man, can’t imagine going through that and it good that you’re letting everyone learn from your mistakes. Just to add to the treat your arm well idea, when you feel something, don’t push through because like you said it just cancelled out all your good work. You have good things to look forward to, rehab well, stick to your routine and you can come back with an even stronger arm then before. Best of luck!

Real sorry to hear about that. But I wish you luck in your rehab. If you have questions, there have been some other folks on here who have gone through what you’re going through so you could try posting here to tap into their experiences.

A couple questions:

How old are you?

Since you said you were always a hard thrower, that tells me you were probably used more than the others which leads to overuse. Would you say this is what happened to you?

[quote=“Roger”]Real sorry to hear about that. But I wish you luck in your rehab. If you have questions, there have been some other folks on here who have gone through what you’re going through so you could try posting here to tap into their experiences.

A couple questions:

How old are you?

Since you said you were always a hard thrower, that tells me you were probably used more than the others which leads to overuse. Would you say this is what happened to you?[/quote]

I’m 17 years old.

Yeah, i was used quite a bit all throughout baseball, and playing 3 seasons back to back really doesn’t help… i played highschool/rec during the spring, travel level baseball during the summer when i was younger (would have played legion this year) and fall ball as well… now fall ball was a lot more laid back than my spring and summer seasons, but it was still 4-6 inning of work every sunday and practice once a week…

so that’s another point to make here… they call it the OFF season for a reason… i’d say play 2 out of the 3 seasons… don’t try and do them all… pros can get away with it, but it’s tough for a young kid… even more so for one that doesn’t take care of his arm properly.

Man, I’m really sorry to hear that.
But you’re gonna get better soon and after as I hear you will be able to throw even harder. Just make sure you do it properly this time.

BTW I do exactly what you were doing… I throw to warmup. Although I don’t throw near as hard as you as I still don’t use my body well enough to throw the ball, last week, tuesday, I pitched and wednesday had a SEVERE pain on my elbow and just to throw from SS to 1b was hard. I took a week off and will make sure I warmup properly from now on.

[quote=“GuKre”]Man, I’m really sorry to hear that.
But you’re gonna get better soon and after as I hear you will be able to throw even harder. Just make sure you do it properly this time.

BTW I do exactly what you were doing… I throw to warmup. Although I don’t throw near as hard as you as I still don’t use my body well enough to throw the ball, last week, tuesday, I pitched and wednesday had a SEVERE pain on my elbow and just to throw from SS to 1b was hard. I took a week off and will make sure I warmup properly from now on.[/quote]

i’m happy that at least one person was able to benefit from my experience… =).

take a look at the arm care sticky in this here injury section, lot’s of good exercises. Also, if you really want to get into it the TUFFCUFF book written by steven ellis has a great deal of info on how to properly warm up and keep your shoulder and other parts of your arm properly conditioned…

Hey Man, I hope the best for you, and me too I had to learn the hard way to take care of my arm, I had to get surgery for a Olecranon Fracture though. I know what you’re feeling. And Im pulling for ya.

I just have one question. Did your injury just happen all of the sudden?
One day you were throwing and u just felt pain.
I just want to learn from your experience so I wont have the same thing.

king- i remember a little while back you were chatting back and forth with me about your arm issue… is that what it ended up being, a fracture?

as far as my pain, it started gradual, and got worse as i tried to “fight through” the pain… so then i rehabbed and it started to feel a good deal better, but then the 2nd time i hurt it i actually injured it worse, and over probably one or two pitches i did even more damage. So the 2nd time i had an issue with it, it was an “all the sudden” kind of pain, but beware of the dull lingering pain as well… any type of pain when throwing is a bad thing in my opinion…

Highschoolpitcher9,

Thanks for sharing your insights and putting some perspective on things - maybe even opening some eyes. :shock:

No, the olecranon fracture was a while ago, back in september.

I ask you so much about your injury. Because I’ve been having some pain on some occasions in the lower part of the inner elbow. But I don’t think its something serious because, sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t.
And lately it hasn’t been hurting in the past few days.

Thanks Roger, that was the goal… =)

King, i agree that your current arm issue doesn’t sound too serious… lots of pitchers get soreness in the elbow and shoulder sometimes after they throw, that can linger into the next day or two causing discomfort when they throw… so i’d say that’s fairly normal.

Make sure you ice after every time you throw, that should help keep swelling down. Also make sure you stretch before and after pitching… if the discomfort becomes a true pain though, or even if it lingers longer than usual get to an orthopedist.

Yeah, thanks highschoolpitcher9

just a little update here… i’m a bit more than 6 weeks out of surgery…

elbow is coming along… slowly… but hey what can i expect? I have almost full range of motion now, and never in my life have i been so exicted to be able to touch my shoulder :wink: . I have begun light shoulder, wrist, bicep, tricep, and back strengthening…

I’ve been going to physical therapy 3 times a week, falling strict protocol on how to rehab provided by Dr. Andrews.

At week 7 we initiate full throwers ten program (well in terms of shoulder at least… i won’t be doing push ups and tricep dips yet…).

I’ll try to update this thread every now and then on my long road back =).

Keep goin hard and careful man…We’re all cheering you on and wishing the best :wink:

figure i’ll try and update this thread once a month or so… or when anything significant comes up…

Right now i’m basically working on all out strengthening recently I gained complete full range of motion in the elbow, so now it’s really just all about strengthening my shoulder, forearms, and everything in between… I figured it’s also a good time to get the rest of my body in shape as well, hoping to come back stronger than ever for the future…

I’m very optimistic about my chances here… even still in the early rehab stages my arm is feeling pretty damn good considering…

It does get frustrating when looking at the future… i’ve already missed more than a year of baseball… and throwing is still a ways out… but hey, i’m closing in on 12 weeks after surgery =). Gotta keep looking at the positives i guess…

So on Wednesday I start my throwing program. Very long awaited, and i’m really looking forward to it. It’s a long and complex program… but if everything goes as planned per the program I should be back throwing full speed in about 3.5-4 months. Still sounds like a long way out… and it is… but i can’t believe how fast the first 3.5 months have flown by already. So basically if all goes well i’ll be back pitching full strength with the only limitations being pitch count late febuary or early march.

I’m not sure whether or not i expect everything to “go as planned” but i’m optimistic.

The way the throwing program works is that you start in a “long toss phase” where you take a crow hop towards your target and only use enough velocity to reach the target at a specified distance. So on wednesday i’m starting at 45’, and i have to complete 50 throws with a crow hop at that distance. After i’ve done that 3 times in a row, pain free, i move on to step number 2, which is 60’, and the program gradually increases number of throws as well as the distance of the throws until you reach a point where you’re throwing 120-180 feet 75 times without any pain. According to the outline of the program it should take about 8 weeks to reach that point.

According to the doctor the issue at this point is not so much structural damage anymore, but instead inflamation. He said if you try to progress to fast, all you’ll do is inflame the soft tissue in you’re elbow and set yourself back a number of weeks. That’s why the program is so slow and gradual, you really need to build up strength in the elbow and surrounding joints slowly in order to not inflame them. He said if you run into bad inflammation of tendinitis it can set you back weeks or even months.

Everything else is pretty much status quo… i’m doing a lot of strengthening and now i’m hoping to ramp it up even a bit more that my limitations are lessened.

Looking forward to the upcoming stages, and slowly counting down the days until next spring =).

Good luck! Make sure you stick to the script.

Will you have a knowledgeable pitching instructor assessing your mechanics as you go?

[quote=“Roger”]Good luck! Make sure you stick to the script.

Will you have a knowledgeable pitching instructor assessing your mechanics as you go?[/quote]

yes and no. For the opening stages, no I wont, because i’m going to be doing it 3 times a week, it’s not in season and i can’t really work with my pitching coach.

But as the throwing becomes more competitive i will be working with a pitching coach that i’ve worked with since 8th grade, and that should help. He should be able to notice anything wrong in my mechanics pretty quickly since i’ve worked with him so much.

This is really a time when it would be nice to be a high profile athlete, because i’d be able to work with team doctors, pitching coaches, etc. all through the rehab program, but only being in high school it’s really not an option… i’ve had to and will still have to do a lot of the work on my own.

just a little update here… I’m throwing and it feels pretty good (at least the last time i threw) but i’m falling behind schedule due to the lack of places and times i can throw…

it’s really become a PITA to find a place to throw 90’, especially because i can’t throw outdoors during the cold new england winters…

At this point i’m starting to get a bit discouraged about the whole thing… i’m not finding much help from any sources, and i’m really going at this pretty much alone… i’m worried as we’re almost half way through December, and i’ve really only got 2.5-3 months left before the season starts… and in the last 2 months or so i haven’t gotten very far…

any chance you can post the throwing program youre on? My doctor decided to “retire” and left me with no program to follow