Javelin Thrower's Elbow and its Management

Javelin Thrower’s Elbow and its Management

What is a Javelin thrower’s elbow?

Javelin Thrower’s Elbow occurs when the medial ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow is sprained. Javelins Thrower’s Elbow is an overuse injury.

UCL stretching is provoked by the poor technique of throwing the javelin. The poor technique consists of throwing with insufficient shoulder abduction, where the elbow is too low. The risk of this injury is higher for athletes who participate in throwing sports or overhead sports.

The first sign of injury is sharp pain while throwing the javelin and aching pain at the medial elbow.

Signs and symptoms of javelin thrower’s elbow:

  1. Swelling of the elbow joint, especially the inner side of the elbow.
    Reduced movement of the elbow joint.
    Tenderness at the medial side of the elbow.
    Medial elbow pain.
    Decreased power during throwing activities.

Physiotherapy management:

  • Cold and hot treatment:
    • If the condition is acute (4-5 days) then the application of an ice pack for 15 minutes 4-5 times a day can beneficial for pain relief and reduce inflammation.
    • Once the condition is older than 4-5 days start treatment with hot packs. apply a hot pack/hot water towel/hot water bottle over the inner part of the elbow for 15-20 minutes 4-5 times a day.
  • Therapeutic modalities such as:
    • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy,
    • Combo therapy,
    • Cryo air therapy,
    • High-intensity class 4 laser therapy.
  • Manual therapy such as:
    • Soft tissue massage therapy,
    • Kinesio taping of the medial elbow,
    • Dry needling,
    • Cupping therapy.
  • Isometric exercises:
    • To prevent muscle dystrophy, do isometric strengthening exercises.
    • it will also help to alleviate pain.
    • isometric exercises for Biceps, triceps, wrist flexors, and extensors as well as pronator and supinator muscles.
  • Isotonic exercises:
    • once the pain is subsided you can start isotonic exercises with lightweight and high repetition.
    • isotonic exercises can be performed with dumbells, therabands, etc.
  • Stretching exercises:
  • Technique correction:
    • The shoulder should be abducted higher (120°-130°) so that internal rotation of the arm can bring the elbow forward early to reach a position directly above and in front of the shoulder. The elbow will then be extended to transmit the necessary force to the javelin without endangering the UCL.

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