Baseball is an exciting sport and like in other sports, injuries are likely to occur from time to time. The most common injuries in baseball are experienced in the shoulders and elbows. This is specifically in pitchers even though batters are also likely to experience these injuries. Injuries in baseball come about due to overuse and extreme wearing out of the shoulders and elbows.
Read my article “Most Common Injuries In Baseball and How To Avoid Them” below for more information.
Rotator cuff injuries
Rotator cuff injuries are as a result of a strain or tear in the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders. These injuries may occur in one of the four muscles or in all the muscles. Rotator cuff muscles are crucial in stabilizing shoulder joints and allow for a powerful swing when playing baseball. Symptoms of these injuries include a sharp and sudden pain in the muscles (usually felt on the shoulder) and a tearing feeling on the muscles. Despite rotator cuff injuries being mostly mild, they can easily become severe due to continuous overuse of the muscles.
The elbow just like the shoulders is also very susceptible to injuries when playing baseball. It is worth noting that while elbow injuries are seemingly mild, they can easily become epidemic among children and youthful players. Elbow injuries are mostly common among pitchers who throw too much and thereby excessively wear out their elbows. There are different types of elbow injuries that include:
Throwers elbow injuries (golfers elbow)
Medial epicondylitis or throwers elbow as it is commonly known is an elbow injury in baseball that is similar to elbow injuries in tennis only that in the golfers elbow, the pain is felt on the inner part of the elbow. Symptoms of these injuries are usually gradual but can also occur sooner especially for pitchers who use a bad throwing technique or those who throw the ball too hard.
Elbow ligament sprain
This sprain injury occurs on the medial ligament muscle that provides stability and power to the elbow joint. Injury to this ligament mostly comes about due to repetitive overuse or use of a poor and inappropriate playing technique.
Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow is an elbow injury in baseball that occurs on the outer part of the elbow. Like other elbow injuries, this injury comes about due to overuse and use of a poor playing technique.
In the recent years, the number of shoulder injuries among baseball players has grown incredibly. This is because the shoulders are exposed to intense abuse and wear through continuous overuse and inappropriate use. What is worse about these injuries is that players do not quit playing even when they experience a sharp pain in the shoulders. This only worsens the injuries making them severe and quite painful.
Pain in shoulder injuries is felt on the shoulder’s upper part (lateral part). This pain starts gradually without any onset of trauma but gets severe and unbearable with continued overuse of the shoulder. It is also possible to suffer shoulder injuries due to the dislocation of the shoulders.
Labrum tear injury
The labrum is the muscle cartilage around the shoulder joint socket. With continuous overuse, this cartilage gets detached from the socket bone causing a labrum tear. This injury is common in baseball and swimming. However, the injury can also come about due to a traumatic event such as being hit by a base ball or even a foot ball. Typical symptoms of the injury include intense pain in the shoulder joint and a painful click-pop sensation. Unlike other shoulder and elbow injuries in baseball that can heal on their own, a labrum tear injury should be treated professionally through physical therapy.
Baseball playing involves quick explosive movements and extensive standing. In whichever position you are playing at, you must always be ready to make sudden movements and running across the plate. Most of the common leg injuries in baseball include calf muscle tears, knee injuries and stretching problems. It is also possible to hurt your legs through falls when running in the pitch. Hip injuries in baseball are also considered to be part of leg injuries and may be caused by misalignment in the hips especially when running. Although quite rare, it is also possible to suffer injuries on the legs when you are hit by a poorly thrown ball.
Of all baseball injuries, face injuries are the most severe and have far reaching effects. This is because face injuries can cause bones to be broken, cause concussions, teeth knocked out and can also result in death. This is why it is essentially to put on a protective helmet and mask when playing baseball. These helmets provide great safety measures that caution the face from getting injured.
Treatment of baseball injuries
Most baseball injuries especially those that come about due to overuse are self-healing. However, in the event that there is an open wound on the injury or a torn muscle, it is necessary to seek professional treatment. It is important to note that overuse and stress injuries in baseball can affect the normal growth of bones in the affected area. If these injuries are not treated, they can lead to deformity which may, in turn, cause permanent disability. Under some instances, depending on the nature of the injury, surgery may be required to treat a baseball injury.
Preventing shoulder, leg, and elbow injuries in baseball
Most injuries in baseball especially those that occur to muscles in the legs, elbow, and shoulders can be prevented by warming up and exercising before stepping to the plate to play. Warm-ups help in stretching and relaxing the muscles thereby making them flexible and removing any rigidity in the muscles. Baseball players should undertake at least two exercise sessions everyday especially when training for a major competitive league. These exercises should focus on moving the joints and strengthening shoulder muscles.
When preparing for a baseball game, always ensure that you have worn the right protective gear particularly for the catcher and hitter. Some of the must have protective gear in baseball include catching mitts, leg guards, face guard, throat protector and a chest protector.