When most people think of sports injuries, they immediately picture a football player taking a rough hit or a basketball player with a torn ACL. Baseball injuries aren’t typically the first to come to mind, however, baseball players are not immune to injury. Summer has arrived which means baseball season is back! Understanding the common injuries and what to look for can help prevent getting hurt this summer while you participate in this popular sport. Don’t let an injury keep you from playing the game!
The ten injuries included below are some of the most common injuries suffered by baseball players:
- Rotator Cuff Tear. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. The throwing motion puts a log of stress on these structures and can cause damage to the rotator cuff. Factors like age, insufficient warm-ups, and improper conditioning in the off-season can make the situation worse.
- Torn Labrum. The labrum is the cuff of cartilage that surrounds the shallow socket of the shoulder joint. Its job is to hold the bones in place and provide stability. The pitching motion puts a lot of stress on the labrum, and over time, the cartilage frays and tears. Labral tears range from mild micro-tears to large tears involving other shoulder structures. Symptoms can include shoulder pain, swelling, loss of throwing velocity, and a feeling of instability in the shoulder.
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury. The UCL provides stability to the inner part of the elbow. Throwing motion puts stress on this ligament and can cause a tear over time. Usually, symptoms of a UCL tear include elbow pain that worsens over time, a lack of control when throwing, and a loss of throwing velocity. In some cases, symptoms can be traced back to one throw during which the player felt a popping sensation or sudden pain in the elbow.
- Elbow Inflammation. Due to the stress that throwing places on the elbow joint, baseball players are susceptible to both pitcher’s elbow and tennis elbow. Pitcher’s elbow is caused by chronic damage to the tendons that move the wrist toward the palm. This results in pain along the inside of the elbow and forearm. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by constant flexion and extension of the forearm. It results in pain on the outside of the elbow, forearm, and wrist.
- Hand and Wrist Injuries. Players frequently suffer hand or wrist damage due to collisions with pitched balls, the ground, bats, and other players. These accidents can result in fractures, dislocations, sprains, bruises, and other injuries.
- Torn Meniscus. Each knee contains two cushions of cartilage that keep the femur and tibia from grinding against one another and help the knee joint to move smoothly. These are called menisci, and they often tear due to hyper-flexion or twisting of the knee. These tears frequently occur when players are pivoting to throw, running the bases, running to catch fly balls, or sliding. Symptoms can include a popping sensation in the knee, pain, knee swelling, or tightness in the knee.
- Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Although they occur more commonly in football, basketball, and soccer players. The ACL is the fibrous band that connects the femur to the tibia to stabilize the knee. Typically, ACL tears in baseball occur as a result of stopping suddenly or pivoting. Symptoms may include a popping sensation, pain, swelling, and instability of the knee.
If you believe you have suffered an injury, give Dr. Larson a call at 435-774-8512. Don’t let an injury keep you from enjoying your summer sport!