When it’s all said and done, he’s left throwing 100 MPH almost entirely with his arm. His upper body is being asked to compensate for his lack of hip function, and his shoulders begin rounding forward placing an incredible amount of stress on his elbow until…

There’s not.

His body warned him. His body told him he was headed this direction. And on one pitch in 2010, all that built-up stress “released” when his UCL tore. Keep in mind that his UCL tore because that is precisely what tendons and ligaments are designed to do when under excessive amounts of stress and pressure. Yet, all the powers-that-be in baseball were quick to tell the Nationals, “We told you so!” Everyone assumed that because Strasburg threw 100+ MPH his elbow was going to break down eventually. In the eyes of the baseball world, it was only a matter of time.

But I don’t believe Strasburg’s 100 MPH fastball is to blame for his UCL tear. Neither is his slider or change-up, for that matter. It’s the body coming to the pitching mound. Remember what I said earlier about what his left side was doing? Or more importantly, what his left side wasn’t doing? The key to a pain-free delivery is hip function and establishing synchronicity between the lower and upper body. Strasburg has to get his hips functioning properly. In fact, all players who are experiencing elbow pain need to get their hips functioning properly. Remember, the hip bone is connected to the shoulder bone, and the shoulder bone is connected to the elbow bone. As the hips function better, the shoulder will function better, and the elbow will function better.

Remember, if the elbow pain was at the end of a series of dysfunctional dominoes, then that means a pain-free elbow will be at the end of a series of functional dominoes. Major League Baseball doesn’t have a Tommy John epidemic on its hands. What they do have are more players who are exponentially more dysfunctional compared to players of past generations.

QUESTION: If you’re an athlete experiencing elbow pain, what has the focal point been throughout the rehab process?