Time to Play Ball!



Winter is waning, Spring is in the air.We shake off the cold, and come to life with warm breezes and long sunny days.It’s time to get in shape and get ready for baseball season!

For those who enjoy playing baseball, a good warm-up and stretching exercises are important for avoiding and mitigating serious injury.This goes for everyone from the Little League kids and Softball League adults to the Major League.

Although injuries are possible with any position – from sprains to broken bones to contusions - the pitcher is the most vulnerable player because of the repetitive throwing motion and field position.

A common arm injury for a pitcher is to the ulnar collateral ligament – or LCL – the ligament that stabilizes the elbow when throwing the ball. Beyond being painful, the arm may become stiff and lose range of motion.Sometimes accompanied by numbness, just gripping the ball becomes challenging. Limiting the number of pitches per game appropriate to age is a standard prevention step, but injury may occur anyway.

Pitchers often experience rotator cuff tears.The rotator cuff is the assembly of muscles that form tendons covering the head of the upper arm bone.Repetitive throwing motion wears the tendons down, resulting in a tear.General pain in the shoulder and when lifting or twisting the arm are common symptoms.Non-surgical healing sometimes works, but surgery is often recommended to make sure the tear heals correctly. An Orthopedic Surgeon will help you make the right diagnosis and decision.

The repetitive throwing motion can also cause nerve impingement in the shoulder and a condition called “Thrower’s Elbow”, resulting from throwing balls exceptionally hard.

Swinging the bat and pitching can put a lot of pressure on the lower back.Although good workouts minimize this risk, intense, constant turning can sometimes cause vertebrae to fracture.As with most hairline fractures, healing is a matter of rest and anti-inflammatory drugs.Physical therapy may also be part of the recovery regimen.It is only in severe cases that surgery would be recommended.

As with any sport where sudden twisting, sliding and running are involved, knee injuries are common in baseball.The two ligaments - ACL and MCL – that stabilize the knee can become inflamed with abrupt movements in spite of the most aggressive workout regimen.

Typical treatments – depending on the injury – may include cold compresses, whirlpool baths, massage, ultrasound, hyperbaric and physical therapy. The Orthopedic Surgeon should supervise to determine when a greater level of intervention is needed.Recovery will require plenty of rest no matter what the cause.

While baseball appears to move slowly, it is still an intensely physical sport that requires preparation and conditioning to avoid serious injury.Injuries can happen anytime, however – even to the best conditioned players - and recovery options matter for the long game.

Please consult Our Physicians page on our website for more information.


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