Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ


I've been told I need a month's rest from pitching to recover from a ligament tear in my elbow. When the month is up, how should I train to get back to a competitive level?


Current recommendations for ligamentous insufficiency (tear) is absolute rest from throwing. Thirty days is the minimum amount required. Many experts advise up to three months' rest.

It may be necessary for some throwing athletes to immobilize the elbow at night. A long-arm splint or hinged brace holds the elbow in a flexed position. This allows for tissue healing and helps decrease the pain.

The rest phase is followed by a two- to three-month progression of throwing practice. A conservative program starts at 30 feet with 25 warm up throws alternating with 10 to 15 minute periods of rest. The distance is gradually increased to 45, 60, and then 90 feet.

Not all athletes are able to rehab the elbow. You may complete the entire rehab program and still not be at your former compentitive level. If symptoms persist, you may be a candidate for surgery. Arthur C. Rettig, MD, and Paul Mieling. Managing Elbow Problems in Throwing Athletes. In Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. March 2007. Vol. 24. No. 3. Pp. 129-135.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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