Injuries related to Pitchers

Position: Pitcher

For a long time it was assumed that underhand softball pitching was a lot better than overhand baseball pitching and hence it caused less sports related injuries.  Several studies in recent years have busted this myth.  The mechanics related to “windmill” softball pitching affect the shoulders, back, spine, elbow, hips and wrist.  If the correct mechanics of holding and winding, opening and closing and correct release techniques are not learnt at a younger age, then the number of injuries will be exponential as they play more intensely during their teen years.

The most common injuries for softball pitchers are shoulder injuries, back injuries, elbow injuries and wrist injuries.

If you look at the anatomy of the human body attached below, it can be seen that bones, muscles, tendons of the shoulders, back all come into play during a pitching motion.  You see each joint’s capability and direction of rotation.  Now can you imagine the joints of shoulder, elbow and wrist going through these rotation at a speed of 25 to 30 mph for a 8U – 10U player and 40-45 mph for a 12U player and up to 60 mph for a 16U -18U player?

Refer to the joint picture here courtesy of www.Paradoja7.com .  You can see the joint mechanisms.Joint mechanism of the human body

Joint mechanism of the human body

Muscles of back and shoulder
Muscles of back and shoulder

 

Now in the picture above see how the muscles of our back connect all the joints and how the pitching force will be transferred starting from the  windup of the arm to the point of release at the wrist.  The stride of the pitchers legs give velocity to the ball and you can see the entire body is in action in sync for the entire pitching motion to be completed successfully.

So, trying to pitch without proper warm up and stretching and doing wrong techniques will cause a lot of harm and over use of will only exacerbate the problem.  For a pitcher to be good and not to get hurt easily, she needs to build up the core strength and arm strength not just one or the other.  If your daughter is a pitcher, make sure also to select a good pitching coach who would teach her the correct mechanics of pitching.  It is well worth the money in the long run if she wants to play competitive softball.

Orthopedic and sports medicine doctor’s  also recommend limiting the number of pitches for the young players to avoid injury.  Ice is the pitcher’s best friend after a game.

Maximum Pitch Counts

AGE

PITCHES / GAME

PITCHES/DAY DAYS 1 & 2

PITCHES/DAY DAY 3

8 – 10

50

80

0

10 – 12

65

95

0

13 – 14

80

115

80

15 – over

100

140

100

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