Here are some common causes of pitching arm injuries that can also affect pitching velocity and control:
Parents should be very concerned if their son has a sore arm. They should not take it lightly as it is an indication that the body is being stressed.
Other causes of a sore arm may include the towel drill and long toss. The towel drill causes the pitcher to force his throwing arm to full extension, which puts tremendous force on the throwing elbow. And, recent studies have proven that long toss increases stress to the throwing elbow.
In 2004, a study came out that proved why stretching before pitching or throwing increases arm stress and reduces velocity. So arm stretches and even lower body stretches are not recommended. Pitchers are much better off doing an active warm-up instead of stretching and holding their arms or legs in a stretched position.
What then should a parent do if their son complains of a sore arm? Should the parent immediately take him to a doctor? Not necessarily. In most cases, if this is the first time a sore arm has developed, a doctor may not be necessary. The doctor in most first time cases will just tell the pitcher to take a week or 10 days off from throwing. That makes sense, however the doctor will not usually know what caused the sore arm.
If the pitcher has experienced a sore arm before or has complained of sharp pain, he should immediately seek the advice of a sports medicine doctor who has experience with pitching arms. And depending on the diagnosis, a second opinion may be warranted, especially if surgery is advised.
When it comes to Little League pitchers, most arm injuries are to the throwing elbow because most Little League pitchers do not develop enough force to create a shoulder problem.
Here are some steps parents can take to help their sons reduce the risk of an arm injury:
Parents should learn as much as they can about throwing mechanics. This gives them the chance to videotape so they can recognize the common throwing faults that not only create sore arms but limit velocity and control, such as moving the body too slow, hesitating in the balance position, striding too short, breaking the hands too high and too early and not using their lower body to create momentum into a long stride.