Youth Baseball – Should Young Pitchers Ice Their Arms

Lefty is now playing kid pitch baseball.  He has been waiting for kid pitch for a few years now because he has always wanted to pitch.  He is getting his chance and enjoying it.  Now that he is pitching, I started to wonder if I should consider icing his arm and shoulder after he throws.  I was then asked by a couple of parents if they should do the same.  I remember icing my elbow and shoulder a lot after I pitched but that was not until high school and college.  I contacted Dr. Alexander Espinoza, Board Certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine, with Medicine-In-Motion and posed the question, should young pitchers ice their arms?

“Icing in a young thrower has not been shown to prevent injuries. We tend to use heat for muscles and ice for joints/ligaments/tendons.  That is why a pitcher puts on a jacket when he gets on base when it is cold to keep his muscles nice and loose.  On the other hand, he will ice his shoulder or elbow after the game to reduce swelling or treat an injury.  Most of what we see on T.V. when players ice is because they are on a specific treatment protocol for a specific injury, and not necessarily to prevent an injury.

I would suggest icing a young thrower’s elbow and shoulder if treating a specific injury rather than for prevention.  The focus for injury prevention in a young thrower should be limited pitch counts, stretching and strengthening the throwing joints and proper warm ups and cool downs.”

This helped clear things up for me.  I hope it helps you as well.  Thanks Dr. Alex!

Dr. Alexander Espinoza attended medical school at UCLA. Finishing Family Medicine Residency at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles in 2003 and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at UCSD in 2006, he is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine.  His interests are Family Medicine with a strong focus on disease prevention and Sports Medicine injuries and keeping a healthy life style.
Family & Sports Medicine

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