The Five Most Common Baseball Injuries
While it's not as brutal as football or hockey, baseball is just as intense. Players must run, jump, swing, and dive in order to make plays. These actions can end up putting a lot of stress on the body, leading to various injuries or traumas. Without treatment, these injuries could worsen and lead to permanent disabilities and chronic pain. Therefore, if you're experiencing any of these problems, be sure to schedule an appointment at Integrative Pain Institute for a comprehensive exam and diagnosis.
MCL and ACL Tears
With all of the running, sliding, and twisting that baseball players do on a regular basis, MCL and ACL tears are nearly inevitable. These injuries occur when the anterior cruciate ligament or the medial collateral ligament is torn. Because these ligaments are vital for stabilizing the knee, tearing them can sideline a player permanently unless they seek treatment.
These knee injuries are often easy to recognize, as the player will typically feel a sharp and sudden pain and hear a popping sound. Afterwards, it will be difficult to put weight on the affected knee due to pain and swelling.
In many cases, MCL and ACL injuries can be healed with non-invasive treatments. However, in cases where the ligaments are completely torn, surgery is often the only viable treatment.
Rotator Cuff Tears
Throwing a ball puts a lot of stress on your shoulder, especially for pitchers. The repetitive motion of hurling 100 mile per hour fastballs dozens of times a game can easily lead to a rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles that coalesce as tendons around the shoulder. Over time, these tendons can wear down and tear, making it nearly impossible to throw a ball.
After the tear happens, the player will immediately feel pain. They may hear feel a cracking sensation whenever they move their arm around. Additionally, it will become hard to lift or lower the arm as well as lay on the arm.
Rotator cuff tears can sometimes heal with non-operative therapy and treatments to help reduce swelling and pain. However, if there is a complete tear, surgery may be necessary to make the shoulder completely functional again.
The shoulder isn't the only area of the body that sees a lot of repetition. Throwing a ball and swinging a bat both put a lot of pressure on the elbow, which can eventually result in a UCL tear. The ulnar collateral ligament works to stabilize the elbow and prevent it from bending the wrong way. Just like the rotator cuff, it can eventually wear down or become irritated.
When the UCL is irritated, players will feel pain in the affected elbow and have a decrease in grip strength. They may also have tingling or numbness that extends down the arm into the ring and little fingers.
Luckily, most UCL injuries can be healed with rest and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, in severe cases, surgery might be needed to improve function.
With fastballs whizzing by players' heads at speeds of over 100 miles per hour, it should come as no surprise that concussions are a common injury. While batters do wear helmets, other players on the field only wear thin baseball caps. This can turn into a big problem if they collide with other outfielders or run into a wall when trying to catch a ball.
Concussions can cause a number of nasty symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, head pain, and confusion. Players might be sensitive to light, sound, and movement.
Because a concussion is a brain injury, it requires time and rest to heal properly. Regardless of whether it was a small bump or traumatic impact, all suspected concussions should be examined by a medical professional to ensure no serious damage has been done.
Movements that involve twisting the back, such as swinging a bat or pitching a ball, can often result in a condition known as spondylolysis. This is when the vertebrae in the back become fractured. If not treated, spondylolysis can eventually turn into spondylolisthesis, in which the affected vertebrae slips out of place and puts pressures on surrounding nerves.
Players with spondylolysis might think they have a muscle strain at first. Pain typically spreads across the lower back and will worsen with movement. Over time, players might experience back spasms that tighten the hamstrings and back.
The best way to deal with this issue is to simply rest and take anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy can also be quite helpful during the rehab process.
Don't let one of these baseball injuries put you in the dugout. Our pain doctors are extremely experienced in treating a number of different sport injuries. Simply give Integrative Pain Institute a call today to start getting the treatment you need to get back on the field.