Spring is finally here, which can mean only one thing for baseball fanatics: spring training! The cool spring breeze and fresh green grass may have you eager to hit the diamond and throw some pitches. But first, take some time to become familiar with these common baseball injuries and some tips to avoid them. It might keep you from developing a painful injury that could put you in the dugout for the remainder of the season!
Rotator cuff tendinitis (Pitcher’s shoulder)
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint. Repetitive throwing can irritate these tendons, causing them to become inflamed. Rotator cuff tendinitis is characterized by pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm. Pain may be present during use or at rest. Treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis includes (Source: National Library of Medicine):
- Rest or avoiding activities that worsen symptoms
- Applying ice for 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce pain and swelling
The menisci are discs of cartilage in the knee joint that act like shock absorbers between the tibia and the femur. A torn meniscus is often the result of sudden stops and forceful turning movements, such as those found in baseball. A torn meniscus can cause pain, loss of stability and limited range of movement in the knee. Meniscal tears are typically treated with arthroscopic surgery, followed by a recovery period of 4 to 6 weeks.
Pitchers often develop this condition due to repetitive throwing. Elbow tendonitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of any tendon around the elbow, although the flexor-pronator group (comprised of the wrist flexors and forearm pronators) is most commonly affected. Treatment for elbow tendinitis involves rest, management of pain and swelling, and soft tissue work and strengthening (Source: ESPN).
Injuries are a common occurrence in sports, even when precautions are taken. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can to avoid them. Remember to make these preparations before your next big game, and give yourself the best chance of avoiding an injury.
Get a physical
Most organized teams require all players to receive a pre-season physical, but even if you’re just playing for fun, it’s still a good idea. A sports physical will identify any potential health problems, such as respiratory conditions, heart conditions or orthopedic issues.
Take time to warm up and stretch
Cold muscles are tight and prone to injury. Take a few minutes to warm up before each game by doing jumping jacks or running a few laps. Perform some light stretching after your warm-up, but never stretch a cold muscle!
Avoid overuse injuries
Several sports injuries are the result of overuse. Remember to switch positions throughout the game, and be sure to rest adequately between games.