Welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman is optimistic about how well his elbow has healed since he had surgery nine months ago. In a December 14th interview, Thurman compared his injury to the pain pitchers sometimes experience after repeated pitching. He explained that he could feel particles of bone in the elbow joint; these fragments caused pain and inflammation. After an MRI was performed to assess the damage, Thurman and his surgeon agreed that surgery was an important step towards improved functionality of the elbow.
Thurman had surgery on his elbow on April 19, and has been following his physical therapy program carefully ever since. He is doing so well that he intends to make a statement about his plans for returning to the ring in 2018, although the exact date of the announcement has not been established.
Keith “One Time” Thurman holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) (Super) welterweight title and the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight title. Known for his knockout power and charismatic personality, 29 year-old Thurman, a native of Florida, began boxing at the age of seven. A fan favorite, Thurman is philosophical about his elbow injury, noting that he had to let his body heal at its own pace.
Injuries to the hands, wrists, and elbows are common among boxers and mixed martial artists. Fractures, torn ligaments and cartilage, wrist sprains, and scaphoid or colles fractures are among the injuries seen in these sports. Fingers and thumbs are also vulnerable, especially to injuries and deformities that occur if the digits are jammed.
Many boxers are at risk of elbow injuries that stem from overuse of the joint. The frequent jabs, hooks, crosses and other punches delivered by boxers can cause repetitive flexion and extension of the elbow. This causes stress that can affect the joint and surrounding tissue, and may lead to tissue damage, inflammation and pain. In less experienced athletes, mistakes with training, technique or equipment may contribute to repeated micro-traumas of the joint.
Whenever possible, overuse injuries are treated non-surgically with rest, immobilization, anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, heat and other therapies that promote healing. Surgery may focus on different procedures depending on the injury, but often includes some debridement of damaged tissue, nerve decompression and repair of lax or failed ligaments.
Keith Thurman credits his positive recovery from surgery to good doctors, rehabilitation, rest and patience. Fortunately for his many loyal fans, it sounds like we will be hearing more from Thurman very soon.