According to dugoutmanager.com, about 3 million people in the U.S. play baseball.
However, just like every sport, baseball players are prone to overuse injuries; even those who participate at the highest level of play like The World Series.
Below, Dr. Tim Dicke, OrthoIndy hand, wrist and elbow specialist, discusses common injuries in baseball and provides tips on how to prevent overuse injuries.
What are common injuries in baseball?
- UCL sprain/ tear: The ulnar collateral ligament helps provide stability in the elbow of the throwing arm and can be injured after repetitive use.
- “OD”- Osteochondritis Dissecans – An injury to the elbow bone and cartilage primarily in teenagers who throw too much. It can lead to lose pieces of bone and cartilage in the joint.
- Rotator cuff tears: The repetitive motion of overhead throwing can lead to pain and tendonitis that eventually can lead to a tear in the tendon. A pitcher may feel a sudden pain in the shoulder that goes down their arm if they tear their rotator cuff.
- Labral tear: It is one of the most common baseball injuries and pitchers often describe it as a “catching” feeling in the shoulder.
- Shoulder instability: Pitchers often experience what is known as “dead arm”. It happens because the muscles get fatigued and can’t function as they normally do. This can happen from a pitcher constantly throwing.
- Knee injuries: ACL and MCL sprains and tears are common injuries that can happen when a player is running from base to base, such as coming to a sudden stop while running, landing on a flexed knee or twisting the knee when it’s planted.
“Arm injuries are so common in baseball because of the strain of throwing,” said Dr. Dicke. “This is compounded by year around participation especially in younger players, which does not allow the strain to heal.”
How do you prevent arm injuries in baseball?
- Warm-up and cool down properly before playing
- Don’t pitch or throw when you’re tired
- Follow pitch count limits and rest periods
- Follow good throwing mechanics early
- Maintain flexibility and strength to prevent overuse injuries
- Don’t ignore elbow pain – bring this to attention early
- Limit year around participation in baseball
“By following the tips above, you can oftentimes prevent the injury or reduce the chances of a throwing injury,” said Dr. Dicke. “Elbow pain with throwing can indicate a more serious problem. If you develop elbow pain, avoid throwing until the pain is resolved. If there is a sudden onset of pain, stop throwing, ice and rest the arm.”
According to Dr. Dicke, if the pain doesn’t respond to rest after a couple of days or recurs with throwing, make sure to seek medical attention.
Learn more about hand, wrist and elbow treatment at OrthoIndy.
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