Your arms are some of your most overused limbs in the body for sports. Whether you like it or not, this takes a toll on our elbows. When you are a lot younger and can still throw like Nolan Ryan, you can still tolerate these small injuries. But as you grow older, stretching or getting our arm pulled no longer does the trick. You need to have an elbow brace support.
Oftentimes, you seek professional help for these emergencies only to cost you hundreds of bucks. Below, we have compiled a list of common elbow injuries in athletes that have immediate elbow brace support solutions so you can take care of yourself without delay.
You usually think it is muscles or the bones that suffer most when you overwork your elbows, but the usual victim would be your tendons. The tendon attaches your muscles to your bones. They are very fibrous, but this tissue, albeit very strong, isn’t elastic at all.
Tendinitis is the inflammation of your tendon and can happen through an extended time of throwing and pitching. It is no wonder that it is a common elbow injury in athletes. Not only sports but several chores at home can also cause tendinitis such as gardening, painting and cleaning the house. You now have an excuse whenever you don’t want to face these tumultuous chores.
People suffering from tendinitis have pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected area. You can always use an elbow brace support solution to at least put pressure on the muscles to stabilize them and alleviate the pain.
UCL Tear (Ulnar Collateral Ligament)
It is usually at the end of the throw that common elbow injuries in athletes happen. After bones in the elbow slam at each other, damage occurs to the bones and ligaments. UCL tear happens when the arm goes in an overhead motion, such as pitching, which creates more stress in the arm.
Once you hear a “pop”, experience pain in your inner elbow and numbness in your ring and small finger – get it checked immediately. More often than not, once you have a torn UCL, a “Tommy John surgery” is needed. It is coined after the first ever baseball player who had to undergo a UCL surgery. After the surgery, you can wear an elbow brace for support as you heal.
If you are still aiming for a longer career in sports and cringe at the very thought of having your elbow operated on, you can opt for prevention measures. You can strengthen your core, hips, and legs so the pressure will not be focused on your upper extremities. Stretching on both upper and lower limbs are often done incorrectly so proper execution is important. Wear an elbow brace to make sure that your bones don’t slam on each other. Do not overextend your arms in the first place.
Olecranon Stress Fracture
Olecranon stress fracture or Popeye elbow is one of the most common elbow injuries in athletes, mainly pitchers. This is due to the crack at the olecranon or the “tip” of of a bent elbow. Once this occurs, there is no other way but to stop any form of activity in the injured area to avoid worsening the situation.
A stress fracture can be determined you experience pain and a mild swelling at the back of your elbow. It is crucial to have it checked because it can also display symptoms of a UCL tear. Operation is an option for immediate cure but if you want to heal it over time, wearing an elbow brace support can help. This includes four to six weeks or rest and zero arm activity.
Valgus Extension Overload
Valgus Extension Overload is one of the common causes of pain at the back of the elbow of athletes. VEO causes severe discomfort and pain due to the cartilage thinning causing the olecranon to rub into the olecranon fossa. This injury doesn’t happen all at once but happens over time. It happens usually to pitchers thus coining it as Pitcher’s Elbow.
Unlike other common elbow injuries in athletes, it not too common to perform an operation once an athlete suffers from VEO. The usual noninvasive treatment would be strengthening your flexor-pronator and correcting your throwing form. Steroid injections are also performed if necessary. While having a throwing rest for a few weeks, wear an elbow brace support to help you stabilize your elbow and avoid unnecessary movements.
On the other hand, if these non-operative procedures still don’t cure the VEO, a surgery is necessary. This will take another 12 -18 months of recovery if you want to continue fully functional in your sport.
Bursitis happens when an inflammation or bruising on the underside of your elbow occurs. The inflammation occurs when the bursa or the thin sac protecting your elbows receives a sudden blow, trauma or prolonged pressure making it hard for you to fold it. This is commonly known as Student’s Elbow or Olecranon Bursitis but happens to athletes as well when sudden impact occurs.
The best thing to do once you realize you have bursitis is to make sure you will not hurt yourself further. Wear an elbow brace support to avoid bumping and aggravating the area. Rest and put ice in the inflamed area. Take medications for pain and inflammation, too. Having an infectious bursitis is uncommon but it can be treated through antibiotics, or if worse, surgery.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
Ulnar nerve entrapment happens when your arm’s ulnar nerve suddenly gets compressed because of sudden movements or prolonged pressure on the area. Being one of the three major nerves that go through your arm from your neck, it can get compressed in your collarbone and wrist. Oftentimes it gets trapped in the inside part of the elbow. This causes a tingling sensation or numbness in the elbow area which is also known as “cubital tunnel syndrome.”
The numbness and tingling often disappears over time. Do not do varied arm movements – instead, wear an elbow brace support to secure the area and prevent further movement of the ulnar nerve. If the entrapment doesn’t seem to get better over time, it can cause weakness and muscle damage in your arm. Consult a doctor immediately specially is surgery is needed.
Common elbow injuries in athletes are often severe in nature and require experts overlooking these situations. However, it doesn’t hurt if you have immediate solutions that are less expensive compared to a doctor’s treatment. If a surgery has been performed already, an elbow brace is very helpful in keeping the elbow in place relieving pain from the injured area.
If you don’t want these injuries from ever happening, you can start wearing an elbow brace as a preventive measure. Prevention is way better than cure – and if we’re talking about surgery in our elbows, it just hurts thinking about it. Better play safe than sorry, so you better start gearing up!