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A Pitcher with Tendonitis


I wouldn’t wish tendonitis upon anyone.

If you’ve never experienced this as an athlete, or pitcher, be thankful.

I’ve battled tendonitis a few times in my life, once in high school and college as a pitcher, more recently as an adult, playing in an adult baseball league of all things.

This experience really helped me better understand the challenges of an athlete. Several years ago, I was asked to play on an adult baseball team. It was an over 28 age league and I was a little reluctant to do it. Not that I was afraid of competing after 20 years away from the field, but I was very busy at the time with four young kids, all busy with school and sports. But the tug to play got me curious to get out there and give it a try.

Well, I got the bug. I actually competed very well. Had a lot of fun. I was even clocked throwing in the low to mid 80′s. Not bad for a guy who had been away from competing for a while. I guess working with kids on helping them kept the game close to me.

My first season went well. The next year I was asked back to play with the team. After a few games, my patellar tendon (just below the kneecap) started hurting me. Even to the point where it was tough going up and down the stairs. I had to play third base and short and couldn’t pitch.

After talking with my neighbor who’s a physical therapist about why this happened and how to avoid it, he said that my legs were out of balance in strength and essentially the tendon was working overtime to support my knee. To avoid it, I needed to get my legs in better shape and in better strength balance.

Why do I talk about this? Here’s a great email from a BioForce Faithful reader….

Dear Mr. Mooney:

“I have read many stories where fathers are telling you about their sons.  I would like to share the same about my son, Jordan Pacheco.  He is a sophomore this year but was very fortunate to make Varsity as a freshman last year.

He was a starting pitcher for most of the year and led them to a Play Off game, which they did not win, but he got recognized for Top Newcomer of Dist. 27 5A, Top Pitcher of Memorial High School and was averaging anywhere from 85-89 mph during all of his games.  He pitched two – 1 hitters and had 11 strike outs in a couple of his games.  He really has a gift that I’m hoping will take him to one of the top Division 1 schools.  He was very privileged to receive a hand written letter from UCLA after his freshman year through his coach.  This was very exciting for all of us, esp. Jordan.

At this time Jordan has been experiencing some pain in his elbow and the Dr. said it is “only” tendonitis.  He was advised to take it easy and/or take time off from pitching.  I am wondering if you may have some advise on how long a break he should be taking and/or how to treat his tendonitis w/out medication?  Do you think it should require some physical therapy?”

Any advise you may have would be greatly appreciated, Alex Pacheco

First, Alex, my congratulations to you and Jordan with his success in high school baseball so far. Jordan should be very proud of his accomplishments.

Now about the diagnosis of tendonitis in your son’s elbow. I’ve got to be crystal clear here that I’m not a doctor. I’m not trying to give medical advice here. I’m not qualified to do that. Here’s the advice I can give you from a father of two college baseball players and a coach.

I would make sure the doctor is 100 percent sure that the discomfort is tendonitis and not something else. The “only” part of his comment is a little concerning. I believe tendonitis for an athlete should be treated beyond rest only. There are a lot of treatments available today beyond popping pills. There are studies out there that are even looking into how some foods we eat can contribute to some of these itises. These food can create an environment within the body that promotes there existence. Something to think about.

I would find a physical therapist in your area that is experienced with throwers and have him/her give you an opinion and look for any strength and flexibility deficiencies Jordan might have. There might be some needed strength and flexibility needs there. Make sure they look at his shoulder and other parts of the body too. Just because the problem is in the elbow, that weak link might be hurting because of another area in the body is even weaker.

You also need to find out the source of the problem. Was he throwing too much with not enough rest, is he working out specifically to be a pitcher? How about looking at his mechanics? Is he being efficient enough, or are the mechanics adding to the problem.

I suppose you are already looking at some of these issues, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing.

Rest? Of course. But you need to do more than that too.

I hope this helps a bit. Alex, keep me posted on his progress.

For all the rest of you out there, please check out this tip on our website. I’ve got Rob, my website guy installing a blog function on BioForceBaseball.com. We are doing this for all of you to be able to sound off on my tips. To deepen our conversations out there.

In coming days, we will have better links on to the site to get you to the blog, but for now, check out the tip on the left side and click to read more. That will get you to the blog page.

Until next time….

Train Like a Champion today!

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One Response to “A Pitcher with Tendonitis”


  1.   Bob Rowe Says:

    Bill,

    I agree that tendonitis should be treated aggressively, it can become a chronic nuisance undermining a players potential, I’m a chiropractor with physical therapy, sports medicine and science background. I’ve been in private practice for 15 years treating sports injuries in adults and youth athletes. I played baseball into the junior college level when I got sidelined from a shoulder throwing injury. The initial doctor I saw said “if it hurts don’t throw that way”! A definitive diagnosis needs to be made sooner than later, then treat accordingly. Tendonitis, ligament sprain / tear, growth plate issue, muscle strain or something above or below the joint should be ruled out. Is the pain on the inside or outside of elbow?. Does the player throw breaking pitches vs fastballs and change ups. These factors need to be considered in determining a diagnosis. I’ve seen all too often youth and high school athletes get inappropriate advice for their injuries and never rehab them properly which leads to additional mechanical problems. Players and parents need to be their own advocate.

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