The bruised elbow in the photo is common among new students, but is not hard to fix. Watching an SEC game about a month ago, the announcers spoke of a pitcher who had a “freak injury”. They did not identify the injury, but a quick look at her next pitch clearly showed the issue. It will return unless they address another part of the body which is moving incorrectly.
Each year a couple of hundred new students contact me with injury, many of them college pitchers. As soon as they describe the injury, having never seen them pitch, it is usually easy identify cause. However, if they don’t live near one of our Certified Instructors, they may have to travel to find the cure. Injuries are rarely “freak accidents”. Yes, the more you play the more likely you will be hit by a line drive or hurt a knee running bases, but most injuries to pitchers are an accumulation of bad movement patterns. The confusing part, for most people, is that the injury is often the result of moments in an entirely different part of the body.
Here is a simple illustration. When a new student arrives with an ankle brace, the first thing I test is her hips. If she has poor flexibility there, the ankle takes all of the stress of a poor landing. However, sometimes the injury is because of instability in the hips. That same issue can cause lower back, shoulder, and elbow injury. Injuries are often symptoms of breakdowns far from the affected part. So, if I see a bruise on the elbow, It has nothing to do with her opening or closing, getting the hip in the way, and I can quickly tell her exactly how the arm looks in the overhead rotation. Without getting technical, we immediately work to get certain muscles in the shoulder out of the way to increase scapular mobility.
Almost every pitcher will hurt at some point, but letting that pain become an injury, letting it sideline you, or letting a small thing become a long-term problem should never, ever happen. It’s like the pitcher I mentioned at the start. She will battle this forever unless they talk to someone who can identify cause and clean-up.