Upper extremity injuries are some of the most common injuries in athletes. They also can be easily dismissed or downplayed by the athlete when they want to get back to sport. Mark Baratz, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, weighs in on common hand and arm injuries.\nCommon Hand and Arm Injuries\nUpper extremity injuries can include any injury to the hand, elbow, arm, and shoulder. There are two types of upper extremity injury:\n\nAcute injuries, which are caused by a specific event or accident\nOveruse injuries, which occur overtime from repetition\n\nMuch like older adults, athletes are prone to overuse injuries from the repetitive nature of their sports. For example, baseball pitchers are especially prone to overuse injuries, such as overhand throwing.\nA few of the common upper extremity injuries in athletes include:\n\nTennis elbow\nGolfer’s elbow\nFrozen shoulder\nFlexor tendinitis\nRotator cuff tear\n\nSeeking Treatment for Hand and Arm Injuries\nAfter sustaining an injury, athletes should be removed from play and evaluated by an athletic trainer or another medical professional. After the initial evaluation, follow up with a primary care sports medicine physician or orthopaedic surgeon is recommended. These experts will obtain a careful history, conduct a full exam, and will likely recommend an x-ray or other advanced imaging in order to determine the diagnosis.\nOnce the injury is diagnosed your doctor will be able to recommend the best treatment options, which may include:\n\nReduced activity\nPhysical therapy\nMedication or injections\nSurgery\n\nHand and Arm Injury Prevention\nWhile some of the acute injuries are a result of a specific incidence, there are also ways to help prevent overuse injuries.\nOne of the best ways to help prevent overuse injuries is by following any rest guidelines suggested for your sport or position (such as guidelines for pitchers).\nIn addition, strength and conditioning exercises both during the season and in the off-season are important aspects of any sport.\nBefore beginning any strength and conditioning program consult a doctor, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or sports performance coach to help identify the best plan for you and your sport.\nFor more information on upper extremity injuries, or to schedule an appointment with one of our sports medicine experts, please call 1-855-89-SPORT (77678).