Because baseball is a contact sport rather than a collision sport, most injuries are often caused by overuse of the muscle, tendon, and ligaments in a given area. Common injuries in baseball players visiting a center for sports medicine and orthopaedics or physical therapy clinic are found typically in the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Some of these common injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Torn rotator cuffs, which are caused by a tear in one or more of the four rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder due to overuse and repetitive throwing.
- Thrower’s and Tennis elbow, which is caused by the wrist and fingers making repeatedly forceful motions, causing damage to either the tendons on the inside elbow (medial epicondylitis) or the outside elbow (lateral epicondylitis).
- Shoulder instability, which is caused by the shoulder joint coming loose from the socket.
- Dead arm, which is caused by an overuse of the shoulder’s posterior capsule resulting in weakness in the tendons and muscles of the arm.
- Shoulder impingement, which is caused by the impingement of the rotator cuff tendons as they move through the joint of the shoulder.
Sports injury prevention
Many of these baseball injuries have a specific cause in common with one another: overuse. Repetitive forceful movements of the limbs and joints can cause great stress in that area of the body and if the motion is performed over a long period of time it can cause damage that may be irreparable depending on the severity of the injury.
Therefore, it’s important not only to know when to treat an injury by seeking a sports medicine physician or visiting a center for sports medicine and orthopaedics but also to know how to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place. In the United States alone, there is an estimated number of 21,301 sports medicine facilities treating athletes every day. Many of the exercises and stretches performed by athletes recovering from injuries in these physical therapy clinics and in a center for sports medicine and orthopaedics can also be done by athletes prior to injury.
Stretching and gradually throwing can help ease a baseball player’s muscles into the high intensity of a game or practice. Take breaks periodically by trading places with other players so both you and your teammates aren’t causing repetitive stress to the same areas. Apply ice to muscles after a game or practice to reduce swelling and irritation. And, finally, emphasize the need for good form and mechanics. Many injuries are often caused by bad form in relation to overuse.
With proper stretching and muscle treatments, sports injuries caused by the overuse and stress of tendons, ligaments, and muscles can be prevented. However, in the event that you or another player does suffer an injury consult a sports medicine doctor or sports medicine clinic for the best treatment options available.