Elbow injuries are among the most common and most serious injuries baseball players suffer.\nWhen the injury is to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) \u2014 the ligament on the inside of the elbow \u2014 it usually requires a procedure, commonly known as “Tommy John surgery,” to repair.\nThe minimum recovery period for returning from this surgery is nine months, though some athletes are never able to resume playing baseball.\nFatigue from Pitching\nBecause overthrowing is the primary cause of elbow injuries, pitchers are more susceptible to them than are other baseball players.\nPitch types and pitch counts have been a focus of throwing injury prevention. The best approach is to treat each pitcher individually.\nRest and recovery periods in between pitching should be based on individual needs, and those needs should be determined by evaluating a player’s fatigue.\nRELATED:\u00a0Infographic: Thrower’s Ten Baseball Program for Baseball Pitchers\n\n\n\nIf…\nThen…\n\n\na player’s shoulder or elbow feels weak,\nhe should not pitch that day, regardless of previous rest.\n\n\na particular pitch causes rapid fatigue,\nthe player is not ready to throw that pitch.\n\n\n\nBecause young athletes’ bodies are still growing and their bones and supportive structures are constantly changing, so, too, are their mechanics.\nAthletes who are not yet fully mature have more laxity in their joints and less muscle mass than older athletes. Because of this, adults may sustain injuries differently from how young athletes might.\nPain from “Little League Elbow”\nThe most important thing young athletes can do to avoid major injuries is not play through pain.\nWith one injury, epicondylitis \u2014 commonly known as “little league elbow” \u2014 tight, overworked muscles cause pain at the insertion in the elbow.\nOnce the muscles in the elbow are fatigued, they lose their stability, forcing the UCL to stabilize the entire elbow by itself. This extra stress can cause the UCL to tear.\nRELATED:\u00a0Arm Soreness: What Does It Mean for Baseball Players?\nPreventing Elbow Injuries\nProper training is crucial to preventing elbow injuries.\nAll baseball players should engage in a sufficient warm up before practice and a proper cool down after. It’s extremely important that pitchers integrate post-throwing exercises into their cool down routines.\nCoaches, strength and conditioning associates, and athletic trainers should work together year-round to see that baseball players are training properly at all times.\nAbove all, players must always remember to pay attention to their bodies’ signs of fatigue or pain. Doing so can keep them out of the dugout and on the field.\nCustomized Training at UPMC Sports Performance\nUPMC Sports Performance can custom build a training and conditioning program for baseball players.