Shoulder and elbow overuse prevention

Prevention of Shoulder InjuriesShoulder and elbow overuse syndrome can be very painful and keep a youth athlete out of his or her sport for up to an entire season. This condition is caused by too much repetitive motion, over-practicing and not enough rest. Other contributing factors include poor mechanics and lack of proper conditioning.

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) orthopedic surgeons and members of the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) are concerned that overuse syndrome can lead to permanent changes to young athletes’ shoulders and elbows, resulting in lifelong problems. Studies show that kids who participate in a single sport 12 months a year are four to five times more likely to have a serious injury that may require surgery. Worried about the long-term effects of shoulder and elbow conditions, MOR and IATA have joined forces calling for more prevention programs.

How can you prevent an overuse injury?

DSC_3965In addition to the exercises provided in the downloadable brochure, here are some prevention tips that can help you prevention shoulder and elbow injuries and keep you playing your sport for life:

  • Never play with pain.
  • Always warm-up properly by stretching, running and practicing your overhead motion with gradual increase in intensity.
  • Play a variety of positions so you aren’t causing stress to muscles and ligaments with repetitive motion.
  • For youth baseball, follow the pitch count guidelines established by Little League International.
  • For throwing athletes, don’t pitch on consecutive days.
  • Don’t play year round. If you want to stay in shape in the off-season, cross-train by playing a different sport.
  • Concentrate on good mechanics, control and accuracy and not speed.
  • Master each skill before trying something new.