Monday, June 26, 2006

NIH: Opening the mailbox!

I just got my first question today, so I thought I'd turn it into a new feature: the NIH Mailbox. Let's go!

Nate asks: What exactly is a forearm strain, and how does one last for 4 months, like Pedro Astacio's injury?

NIH sez: My first instinct is to say that forearm strain is one of those generic kinds of injury names that could include a whole range of actual injuries. I've only ever suffered mild RPI style strain of my Brachioradialis myself, but then again, I also don't put the kind of horrible strains on my arm that a starting pitcher does dozens of times each mound appearance.

As Nate noted, Pedro Astacio hit the long term DL list back in early April with "forearm strain" listed as the official injury. His recovery has been a slow one. He suffered the strain originally during the Beltway home-and-home exhibition series against the Orioles, and reaggrivated it during what was supposed to be a rehabilitation start with the Zephyrs in early June after bouncing around the Nationals minor league teams. Current news is that he will he rehabbing again on Wednesday for the Harrisburg Senators.

But that's not the question.

Medically, strain is defined simply enough as an injury to a muscle or tendon. None of the research I can do will say exactly what muscle and/or tendon in his right forearm that Astacio has injured (there are several to choose from) but strain prognoses can range from recovery times measured in just weeks to recovery times as long as a year. The idea of it taking a full twelve months to work through the strain is obviously an extreme, but it's not uncommon for a medium or severe strain to cause several months of pain. Judging by the way Astacio has been bouncing around, and him being recalled from the Zephyrs so close to his return to the Major League club says that this was at least a moderate strain.

I'll keep an eye out and report on his next rehab start for our AA team. The fact that he's still at that level tells me that he's probably still two rehab starts, at least, away from returning the club, so I wouldn't count on him showing up until closer to the All Star Break, maybe later. Strains can linger.

So. Hopefully that answers the question. If anyone has a question that the NIH Mailbox can tackle, leave them here, and I'll research them as I have time!


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