17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger

by Rob

I experience pain at the base of my right middle and ring finger sometimes going up to the next joint on each finger. I am 17 years old, this has been happening lately when I pitch for my baseball team. MRI and x ray show nothing.


Hey Rob.

I wouldn't think that MRI or xrays would show anything for what you describe, but it never hurts to take a look just in case.


1. How much do you pitch?

2. How often?

3. How many years have you played pitched?

4. How long has this been going on?

5. How 'bad' is it? Meaning, how much does it hurt, for how long, and how often?

6. What else do you do with those fingers, activity wise? Lots of texting? Lots of time on the laptop? Fingertip push-ups? Pull-ups? Etc.

7. Can you tell if the joint is unhappy, or if the tendons crossing the joint are unhappy?

I surmise that you hold the ball a certain way before and during each throw when you pitch. Over and over.

I surmise that your finger joints get more pressure on them than they like, in a non-optimal direction/angle.

I'm guessing you're experiencing beginning stage
Tendonitis, though it could be the same dynamic but happening to the joints themselves, which I guess would make it 'Jointitis'. (I don't think that's a real term, but I like it.)

Way down the line, Trigger Finger/a> can become an issue, but in the beginnings, no problem. Easy to deal with.

Answer the above questions to give me more clues/information, including, do you play ball for fun or do you have aspirations of college and beyond?

It's more common than it should be for young high school baseball pitchers to have shoulder pain, arm problems, and finger and wrist issues.

I'm happy to help. Let's not just get you out of pain, let's show you how to keep this 'damage' from happening through the rest of your career.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Aug 03, 2009
PART 2 - 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: Rob

To answer your questions: I pitched through the high school season April-June 8 games averaging 95-100 pitches per game, 1 game every 4-5 days on average.

Travel summer ball only pitched 3 games 80 pitches per game also played center field when not pitching. Felt some pain when at bat on July 2 also.

I have been pitching for 8 years always within a pitch count relative to age. This started on July 2nd haven't thrown much since then. Threw 20 pitches on 3 consecutive days as rec by othopedist to gauge healing.

Felt light stiffness 1st day in right mid finger between palm and first "knuckle' stopped and iced, next 2 days same scenario with ring finger.

Went to Dr Hershon he thought it might be from recentley throwing more change-ups, gripping ball with enlarged spread of index, mid and ring finger.

Currently shut down, but am going to a tournament Aug 12-13 will try to pitch maybe 3 innings in each of 2 games. I am currently being recruited by colleges and missing out on some exposure but don't want to risk further damage?

There is a stiffness rather than pain as I haven't thrown that much in last 3-4 weeks. No stiffness or pain when I don't throw. I do text often and use computer key and mouse but feel no pain or stiffness when I do.

I am doing the focused icing 3-4 times a day and taking Aleve. Also high school football season [I am a wide receiver]starts shortly.

Thank you Rob

Aug 03, 2009
PART 3 - 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Answers:

Hey Rob. Thanks for all the details.

Yes, I have no doubts it has something to do with your grip on the ball, with switching to a new grip and lots of throwing adding in enough irritation to start a progression of physical problem.

And of course, if you text a a lot, that's just more load on the joints and tissue etc, in the form of Teen Texting Tendonitis.

Stiffness is how it starts. It's awesome that you are paying attention to it now instead of later. That's very wise of you.

Maybe we can predict it will lead to a Tendonitis problem, but you are looking at more of a joint problem. Strain/pressure/tension at odd angles of the joint makes the bones press against each other, and this sets up more of a 'jointitis' problem than a tendon problem, though they both go hand in hand, so to speak.

1. Ice Dip as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

2. Ice Massage the affected fingers. Press into the joint, work the little nooks and crannys of the geography of your finger bones, tendons, joint capsules, etc.

This is your primary, direct treatment for that stiff finger feeling. Again, this is more a jointitis than a tendonitis.

Don't ignore the tendonitis side though, an aspect of which is, tight forearm muscles pull on the tendons that attach to your fingers, which compresses the joints.

3. Were I you, I would also supplement my diet with Magnesium and Bone Broth.

You just can't go wrong keeping your body as nutritionally sound as possible.

More questions, more answers.

Aug 19, 2009
PART 4 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: Rob

After laying off for about 3 weeks my son pitched 3 innings [40 pitches] and experienced the stiffness again so we stopped and he is shut down pitching but playing football[wide receiver] for his school.

I haunt many sites in an effort to understand this as the MRI was clean and tendonitis seems to be a default diagnosis by the ortho surgeon based on the change-up grip.

I have yet to see any mention of a similar "injury" this seems to be pretty rare. I thought initially it might be nerve related. What is the difference between jointitis and tendonitis?

In jointitis are there tendons affected or is it more bone related are there arthritis implications?

He has been asked to throw by some colleges and I want to have an understanding of how long to rest him. Any exercises at this point, squeezing a ball etc?

ASMI also seems to be kind of baffled by this. How long, after symptom inducing event, do I do the focused iceing.

Thanks again, Rob

Aug 19, 2009
PART 4 - 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Hi Rob.

It is unlikely that 'rest' is going to do the trick. Ever. Maybe if you take a year off of any stress to the joints....but that has its own downsides.

Yes, it is pretty rare. And while it may be rare, I certainly don't consider it 'disease' or some weird rare thing.

For a variety of reasons with his pitching, it is a sure bet that something about the pressures on his joints as/when he holds/pitches the ball is irritating the tissue of his joints.

Some people are more sensitive than others, this may or may not be the case with him.

I bet the 'diagnosis' of tendonitis is a default one. Meaning "It hurts, we can't see any injury, so...uh....I guess we'll go with Tendonitis. Give it rest, take some Ibpurofen, it should take care of itself....I hope."

There may be some underlying reasons that your son's joints are over reacting some, like he may just be prone to extra inflammation, he may have a level of gluten intolerance that sets him up for extra inflammation, is he diabetic?, too much sugar etc, not enough quality protein intake, etc.

So that I know how to correlate his symptoms with what self care you have been doing, how have you been icing, how much, how often, did you start the bone broth or get him on Magnesium supplementation?

So, the difference between 'jointitis' and 'tendonitis'.

Jointitis is irritation and inflammation of a joint from to much load/pressure. As opposed to Arthritis, which is more interior joint irritation and inflammation.

Take your finger in your other hand, and bend a joint to the side. Hold it for a while. Imagine how the bones/joint surfaces are pressing together, essentially bruising the joint surfaces.

It's like that with pitching, depending on how one handles the ball. It's likely he's squeezing/putting way too much sideways pressure on his joints as he holds and throws the baseball.

Possibly a skilled pitching coach would be useful here. It's all about ease and efficiency. If your son is learning a new skill, it's a given he hasn't learned the ease yet.

Tendonitis is irritation and inflammation of a tendon. This can be from wear and tear damage, or it can just be from irritation from too much chronic tension.

Quite possibly there is some of the later involved on his tendons.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

But one needs to get, it's all about the Pain Causing Dynamic.

Irritation leads to inflammation, which leads to the body kicking in a protective mechanism which creates more tightness and releases chemicals which increase one's sensitivity to pain.

-Maybe- your son has actual injury. I doubt it.

It's more likely that his joint surfaces are effectively bruised and full of pain enhancing chemical.

Time does not necessarily reverse this dynamic.

Tell me, have you iced, how much, how often, etc.

Aug 24, 2009
PART 5 - answering your questions - 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: Rob

My son did ice after every symptom producing event for a few days. How long should icing continue after onset of pain or stiffness.

He hasn't pitched in 2-3 weeks and won't in the near future. He is currently playing on the school fotball team as wide receiver no finger problems as of yet.

His diet is pretty good eats enough protein, takes a multi-vitamin each day, could eat more vegetables. He isn't diabetic, will get magnesium supplement.

Seemed to be a default diagnosis as MRI and x-ray are clean. He has been taking pitching lessons for a number of years and his mechanics are very smooth. He just started to throw more change-ups with that spread finger grip this past year, but out of 90 pitches maybe he will throw 15 change-ups.

I thought maybe a pinched nerve or some neuro issue??? He has no pain or stiffness when texting, computer etc.

Thanks, Rob


Joshua Comments:

Hey Rob.

Don't you just love those 'I have no idea' diagnoses? Gotta call it something so we'll go with......Tendonitis. Yeah, that's it.

It's incredibly unlikely that it's a nerve or neuro issue.

If he has no pain now, and no pain typing, texting, playing football, etc, then it's most likely something to do with the pitching and/or the change up (no pun intended) in his pitching and strain he put on the joint as I've described before.

Sometimes it doesn't have to be a lot to set the body off into a pain dynamic, especially joints, especially when the body/joints are going through a certain amount of growing pains.

At this point, I wouldn't worry about it.

Though I -would- prepare for it and keep an eye on it as pitching season comes up again.

The week or two before starting, I would start him ice dipping hands/forearms and ice massaging the joints.

During pitching, especially if doing the change up pitches, ice massage and dip.

And keep an eye on it while he pitches.

It may be he just can't do change ups (Though I bet he just needs to not use so much finger pressure). It may be that he'll grow out of it and/or his body will get used to it.

I suspect the latter.

Again, if he's not hurting now with the activities he's doing, I wouldn't worry about it. And, be aware and prepare for it just in case when he next starts pitching as it may have been the regular pitching, or the change in pitches, or both.

Magnesium is required for potasium utilization, among other things. Vitamin D is required for Calcium absorbtion, among other things.

Keep me updated. Ask any questions that come up.

Dec 20, 2010
I am having this same problem
by: Anonymous

My middle and ring fingers around the base are also in pain, mainly my ring finger and I am also 17.

I play basketball and have been all my life and experienced none of this.

Recently I have been on the computer more. Typing makes it hurt worse (irony) and now it even hurts a little in the wrist, but only in my right hand.

Please let me know if u can help me as well.


Joshua Comments:

Sure Anonymous, I can help.

Start with Magnesium for Tendonitis and learning How To Reduce Inflammation.

Jan 13, 2011
Similar problem - 17 year old baseball pitcher, finger pain in middle and ring finger
by: sayvari

I am 40+ and play cricket while bowling (pitching)I have to spread my fingers to spin the ball. For the past few months I have been experiencing pain in my right arm finger joints. If I rest for a few days the pain disappears but reoccurs once I start bowling again.

Healthwise I am overweight (240lbs, height 5'10") but dont have diabetes, blood pressure etc.

Would appreciate your comments in curing this problem.



Joshua Comments:

A great place to start is by learning How To Reduce Inflammation (see link in this thread).

Jul 29, 2016
Joint Pain in Fingers when Throwing Baseball
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem, played baseball seriously for years and years.

I'm 27 now and believe the problem to be the early stages of hand arthritis.

I recommend looking into that and seeing a doc that specializes in it + can pick it up on the MRI.

Josh what are your thoughts on that?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

Great, let's look into arthritis.

What causes arthritis? (Hint, it's not baseball, or any other activity.)

Sep 13, 2018
Youth pitcher elbow pain
by: E

Hello, my son is a youth pitcher and is experiencing chronic elbow pain on the inner elbow, likely a medial epicondyle.

Just to be clear, he isn't over used, he does not throw a too much or too little. However; the pain has been chronic for several months, spiking from time to time. He will rest it, the pain will go away. Then we will start back slowly, but the pain creeps back in.

We have had x-rays to rule out avulsion fracture. We have worked with a physical therapist and he has been doing several exercises to strengthen shoulder, forearm and stretching. Even doing nerve stretching.

It just won't go away. My question is how the tendons could be involved and would an MRI be recommended to see if there is any tears. He passes all the physical examinations, stress test the doctor did...Palm up internal/external rotations etc. etc. but the pain is very localized, right in-between the two point part of the elbow, inside part of the arm.

Also, he is 13 years old, 5'11" and 175ibs. He is a big kid, very strong and very athletic and fast.

Could he simply be too big right now and his tendons, ligaments, etc. simply can't support his growth and strength? Plus, if he is going thru a big growth spurt does that stress and aggravate the tendons, connective tissue etc.


Joshua Comments:

Hi E.

1. It could be a good idea to get an MRI, though I'd rate, based on him passing all the other tests, that it wouldn't show anything other than some inflammation. I could certainly be wrong about that, thus, it could be a good idea just to rule anything out.

And, one can have even disabling pain without any actual injury.

2. Being a big and young kid at about that time frame, yes it could simply be a function of growing too fast, etc, etc.

3. But, I generally put all my wagers on 'the tendonitis dynamic'. Meaning, the overall ecology of the arm is being negatively affected by:

A. too tight muscle and connective tissue
B. INflammation process
C. Lack of nutrition

Youth goes A LONG way, but soft tissue pain is showing up earlier and earlier in young athletes and non-athletes.

Nutrition is a PRIME player (no pun intended). And when one then takes into account a young fast growing kid...if that kid doesn't have all the nutrition the body could possibly want (which despite your possible protestations it's a REALLY safe bet that he doesn't/didn't get all the nutrition his body could possibly want [if only because adequate calories in no way equates to adequate nutrition).

I just did a phone consult with a college ball player who, long story short, is had to drop off his promising collegiate basketball carreer and leave college because, again long story short, he grew up with and maintained into early adulthood a terrible terrible diet.

His body did what it could as long as it could, then it's a hard downwards spiral of multiple injuries and multiple areas of pain etc. Kid can barely walk right now.

Your kid isn't currently in that category, may never but, but the allegory holds: pain without any actual injury is still a serious problem...and nutrition is a KEY player in how the body functions.

THat he hurts may not be the problem to focus on...that he can't get out of the pain, absolutely is.

It's been a while since you wrote this, how is he now?

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