Apr 15, 2022
In the last couple of years (especially since 2020), there has been a massive increase in the number of baseball injuries, even on a professional level. This translates across all positions (catchers, pitchers, fielders, batters, and baserunners). Now, some say that the biggest reason is the length of the season, however, there’s something hazardous about the nature of the game, as well.
Here are some of the most common baseball injuries, as well as a few tips on their symptoms, prevention, and treatment.
When discussing common baseball injuries of the shoulder, it’s impossible to skip torn laburnum. The labrum is the soft tissue that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint. Its role is to provide stability and keep the shoulder joint from dislocating. The throwing motion puts stress on the labrum and, over time, this cartilage starts to wear out.
It takes roughly three months to heal torn labrum and it’s strongly advised against pitching from 9 to 12 months in the aftermath. Still, it’s always for the best to have a shoulder doctor look into your specific injury and give advice. Every injury is unique and it sometimes takes a specialist to tell them apart. Even common baseball injuries may feel uncommon when different instances are compared.
Prevention is quite straightforward; you need to fully rest after every game/training session. Second, you need a proper warm-up and stretching every time you’re going to pitch (even if it’s going to be a single intense pitch). Third, try to strengthen the surrounding muscles.
This particular injury is quite easily recognizable for a number of reasons. First of all, its symptoms are quite specific and its effects are not nearly as painful as those of the rest common injuries occurring in baseball pitchers. The injury is as it sounds – your arm goes numb from overuse.
The treatment is usually not that difficult – rest and (sometimes) physical therapy. Still, in the majority of cases, just taking some rest should do the trick. Now, while it’s true that taking a break due to, what seems like a minor issue, sounds unfair, according to some of the latest stats and trends, baseball players lose an incredible number of days due to an injury.
Now, dead arm mostly happens due to repeated stress and overuse of the shoulder. One thing worth pointing out is that this is most likely going to happen during the training session. Here, there’s no maximum limit for the number of pitches throughout the day and there’s usually no one to count your pitches and warn you to take it easy.
One of the most common baseball injuries of the elbow is the so-called pitcher’s elbow. While tennis elbow pain affects mostly the outside of the elbow, the pitcher's elbow is defined as a fatigued ulnar collateral ligament and is often caused by overuse or repetitive motion. The problem is, it doesn’t take years of cumulative damage for the injury to occur. For this reason, a pitcher’s elbow is a common injury among young baseball players.
As an experienced elbow doctor would tell you, another reason why kids between 9 and 14 are especially susceptible to this is the fact that their elbow joints are still not fully developed. Their bones are not as mature, their ligaments are looser, they have open growth plates, and their musculature is still not fully developed.
One more risk factor is the lack of proper mechanics (technique). It takes years to master a perfect pitch and failure to do so may put extra force on the elbow joint. This is what makes these common baseball injuries even more likely in teenagers.
Due to the increased use, your ligaments and tendons in the wrist can become swollen, torn, ruptured, or even just tender. As a result, you will suffer from pain, inflammation, and even weakness in these areas.
Now, when looking up common baseball injuries and how to prevent them, you’ll likely hear about proper warmup, avoiding overpitching, etc. However, not a lot of people talk about the importance of minding your surroundings. Sure, baseball might not always be perceived as a sport that has a lot of physical contact but collisions with other players happen quite often. Getting hit by a thrown or hit ball is also a probability. Always, always be mindful of your surroundings.
One of the most common misconceptions, when it comes to making a list of baseball injuries, lies in the fact that people put too much focus on upper extremities. Sure, your shoulders, elbows, and arms, in general, are under more pressure than in the majority of other sports, however, baseball requires compound movements which means that your entire body is working at the same time. This is why knee injuries are just as likely.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as how some of the worst baseball injuries are leg injuries. Twisting your ankle may result in a fracture dislocation (like what happened to Robin Ventura in 1997). The worst thing is that this is as likely to happen during a training game as it is during a real match.
Now, avoiding overuse is definitely the key step in the prevention of some of these injuries. However, as one moves to the higher instance of the game, this becomes less likely to happen. So, taking necessary steps of precaution, never skipping a warm-up, and always stretching up becomes even more practical.
In the end, you don’t really have to understand all of the above-listed injuries and take measures to prevent each one of them. Just, warm up every time before practice/match, stretch, and if the pain in a particular area starts increasing, just stop. Pain is a pretty reliable indicator that something isn’t right and that it’s about to get worse. This is one of the simplest ways to avoid some of the most common baseball injuries.
Of course, injuries happen and there are some injuries that no amount of prevention can save you from with 100% reliability. Also, some injuries are just more serious than the rest. So, for a shoulder spring, you should definitely reach out to our expert shoulder surgeons at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, instead of just trying to walk it off.