Throwing arm injuries are on the rise in Little League and other youth baseball programs. After these injuries occur, many players are out for the season; others require surgery and must refrain from play for an even longer duration; still others sustain injuries so severe that they cause permanent damage and are unable to continue playing baseball.
Three new studies presented today at the at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) address this critical issue, each offering new solutions to help prevent these injuries.
Five-minute stretch after play can help young players avoid throwing-arm pain
Pitchers and catchers under the age of 15 often experience tightness of a shoulder ligament known as the posterior-inferior glenohumeral ligament. If this ligament is not stretched, it will become increasingly tighter and more prone to pain or injury as the player ages, if that player continues to play baseball.
A study of 1,267 youth baseball players, led by Charles Metzger, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in upper extremities in Houston, Texas, found that a simple stretch known as the posterior capsular stretch can help.
"A posterior capsular stretch is done after play and since it is different from the general stretches players already know, it must be taught," says Dr. Metzger. "Once learned, however, it is very simple, and takes only five minutes to complete. Nearly 97 percent of young players who performed the stretch properly and consistently reported shoulder improvement."
Dr. Metzger supports Safe Throw, an injury-prevention and rapid return-to-play program. Instructions and diagrams showing how to perform the posterior capsular stretch can be found on www.safethrow.com.
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|Contact: Kristina K. Findlay|
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons