Young Player’s Arm is Sore…Now What?

Dr. Alexander Espinoza, MD

Having a sore arm is a part of baseball. Throwing a baseball is an inherently difficult and unnatural motion. And if you have a baseball player, there will most likely be a time when you hear, “My arm is sore.” We can spend hours (if not days or weeks) discussing important topics like prevention, training and overuse. As a parent of a youth baseball player, I know it’s my responsibility to be well-informed and his biggest advocate when it comes to injury prevention. But, what I want to know today is what do I do if I hear Lefty state that four letter word…sore.

I’ve already heard some of his teammates use the word. So I reached out to Dr. Alex.

My friend, Dr. Alexander Espinoza, graduated from UCLA medical school and, for the past 15 years, has practiced family medicine with a strong focus on prevention of disease and sports injuries. He is a member of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine and someone I would entrust with Lefty’s arm and overall health. I asked Dr. Espinoza, what should a parent do when their player complains of a sore arm. Here is his response:

“Sore” muscles should get better with a few days rest. Discomfort that lasts longer could be a sign of injury. Shoulder and elbow joint discomfort that is accompanied with decreased velocity or accuracy is usually not related to soreness. Yes, muscles can get sore with sports; if I had a dime for every mile I’ve run while being sore then I would be a very rich man! The upper and lower body, including the back muscle groups, can all get sore with baseball. But again, you want to focus on the duration, quality and dysfunction of the physical complaint. If it falls from the norm, then get it checked out.

Taking Dr. Alex’s advice, my focus should be on the location and the duration of the soreness, along with its impact to arm function. Also, allowing adequate rest after soreness is key.

Dr. Alexander Espinoza received his undergraduate degree in 1995 from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), where he majored in Biology and minored in Philosophy. While at LMU he was awarded the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in Cross Country NCAA Division 1 and the Thomas D. Pitts award for Excellence in Biology.

He received his medical degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2000. He completed his Family Medicine residency at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles in 2003 and his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of California at San Diego in 2006. Dr. Espinoza is board certified in both Family Medicine and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Espinoza’s interests are Family Medicine with a strong focus on prevention of disease and sports injuries and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He is a member of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine and has volunteered at many sporting events including serving as Medical Director for the Pasadena Marathon and California State Games.


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