Preventing Tommy John Surgery

ECLIPS by Ron McKnightECLIPS, or Elbow Collateral Ligament Injury Prevention and Safety, is a proven method for reducing the incidence of elbow pain caused by throwing injuries – specifically those created by pitching. This type of injury can lead to Tommy John Surgery.

Named for the legendary Major League pitcher who had the first successful elbow ligament replacement, Tommy John Surgery is used to repair a complete tendon tear at the medial or lateral ligament of the elbow. The need for this costly and delicate surgery has been plaguing baseball for years, from Little League to high school, college and professional players.

Ron McKnight’s solution is ECLIPS, or Elbow Collateral Ligament Injury Prevention and Safety, which employs the body’s natural ability to balance muscle tension.

When a muscle contracts, its opponent muscle relaxes.  Instead of stretching a muscle in order to release tension, ECLIPS contracts the muscle on the opposite side of the joint. When this muscle is contracted, the tension on the other side is naturally released. Flexors and extensors need to be in balance for efficiency of movement and freedom from injury. We are always contracting the hand against resistance, yet we seldom open it in opposition to that resistance. As we grip the ball (or club, bat, brush, etc.) repetitively and with increasing strength, more tension is placed on the elbow attachment points.

As with all collateral ligament injuries caused by repetitive stress, the injury and subsequent surgery may be avoided if the easy and affordable ECLIPS methods are employed. ECLIPS uses specific techniques to release tense arm, shoulder and chest muscles. A common misconception is that Tommy John Surgery results when a pitcher’s arm muscles aren’t strong enough; in fact the throwing muscles are too contracted.

Commonly known as tennis or golfer’s elbow, this condition is not limited to athletes who participate in these sports. Anyone who throws a ball or swings a bat repetitively can be affected. Wielding a hammer or even carrying a heavy suitcase can result in this painful condition. While the injury may be on either side of the elbow, the Tommy John Surgery repairs tears of the medial or lateral epicondyle, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL).

If a pitcher is suffering from forearm tension, he needs to release the forearm by contracting the forearm extensor. If there is tension in the chest ECLIPSFridayEDITEDmuscles, then working (contracting) the back and rhomboid muscles will tend to bring both muscle groups into balance. If balance is not created, the torque is increased at the muscle-tendon junction, resulting in inflammation or a tendon tear.

By regularly using reciprocal inhibition, massage techniques, and four specific exercises, we can reduce the onset of injury and the need for invasive surgery. We can reduce UCL or MCL injuries using the ECLIPS methods to prevent or lessen the impact of repetitive stress on the elbow. These methods are proving to dramatically reduce injuries when used correctly by an ECLIPS trained massage therapist.

ECLIPS is a program of The International Institute for Injury Prevention, Inc. (TIIIPI), a 501-C3 non-profit organization whose mission is to create a national network of trained massage therapists who can apply the ECLIPS methods to teams and athletes in their communities and share best-practice methods. The benefit can extend from Little League to high school, college and professional baseball by training therapists in-person and online, and teaching coaches, parents and players self-help exercises.

Ron Mc Knight

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