I often get young athletes in the clinic with shoulder pain from throwing. Pain in this population can be from a number of different factors but is very often due to overuse. Kids as young as eight or nine years old start training in the winter and play ball through the end of July. Throwing for so much of the year is too much for these athletes and leads to overuse injuries in the shoulders and elbows.
Coaches and parents need to be aware of this risk of injury, and should carefully monitor their players. Employing pitch counts for pitchers and instructing players in good pitching mechanics are good ways to keep players safe. Being able to notice the signs of fatigue can prevent further overuse, and prevent a loss in playing time due to an arm injury.
A tired pitcher:
Caution: Radar guns can lead to kids overthrowing in an effort to compete with friends or reach a certain MPH, so use sparingly
Common throwing injuries include rotator cuff tendinopathy/strain, labral tears, instability, and ulnar collateral ligament tears. Recovery time can vary depending on the type of injury and can have a player shut down anywhere from 4 weeks to a year or more. Many of these injuries can be treated by a physical therapist by a variety of treatments.