Play Baseball? Physio Can Address Elbow and Shoulder Injuries

Jul 13, 2016

Baseball is a great sport for people of all ages — while strengthening your heart muscles and improving lung capacity, baseball will also improve your upper body strength and joint flexibility. With that being said, due to overuse, many regular players begin to notice some concerning symptoms.


Physiotherapy can help you protect your body, so that you can continue to play the sport you love. Whether you play college baseball, are training for the major leagues, or play weekly with friends, it’s important to understand the most common injuries so that you can spot them before you do any long-term damage.


4 Most Common Baseball Injuries


Unlike football or rugby, baseball doesn’t involve much contact, so what injuries occur? Well, most often than not, injuries are not based on trauma, but overuse. Although physiotherapy can help you prevent injuries from occurring, more often than not, players require services after an injury takes place. Of those injuries, these are some of the most common:


  1. UCL Injury

Also known as your ulnar collateral ligament, a UCL injury is common within this sport, especially among pitchers. Acting as a stabiliser for your elbow, the UCL is often placed under stress due to repetitive throwing motions. If you are experiencing tenderness, stiffness, or pain around your elbow, it’s important to have your UCL properly examined.


  1. Rotator Cuff Tears

Although all baseball players are at risk, pitchers are especially prone to rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles, which allow the human shoulder to rotate. More often than not, repetition places strain on the tendons which hold these muscles into place. Warming up the shoulder muscles before you begin to play, may help reduce your risk.


  1. Knee Injuries 

Most injuries in baseball occur over time, however, when it comes to your knees, you can experience a rapid and unexpected blow. While running to a base or manoeuvring around an opponent, you can get an injury in your knee. Whether you tear a ligament, your knees are at higher risk of injury when you suddenly change both your direction and speed.


  1. Elbow Injuries

Sure, ‘tennis’ elbow is often associated with the sport of the same name, but that does not mean that only tennis players are at risk. In fact, as stated in the journal Sports Health, approximately 22 to 26 percent of all injuries to major league baseball pitchers involves the elbow joint.


Often presented as inflammation (and sometimes a tear), the tendons that runs up the side of your elbow are prone to a repetitive stress-related injury. Similarly, pitchers often experience ‘golfer’s’ elbow — which affects the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Knowing which areas are at risk, allows you to take preventative measures.


Physiotherapy to the Rescue

It’s clear that physiotherapy is beneficial for athletes, helping them reduce their risk of injury before damage occurs. The same is true for baseball injuries, especially early on in the season. Reported in one study, published in the Journal of Athletic Training, it was found that although the majority of baseball injuries were minor, they most commonly occurred within the first month of the season.


It’s important to understand preventative strategies, while improving your overall game. When injuries occur, most often relating to overuse, treatment will begin with relative or active rest. Once the stress of throwing is eliminated, physiotherapy will address any inflammation, range of motion, flexibility, and even tissue healing.


Only when an athlete restores full range of motion without any pain at rest, do they usually move onto the second phase of treatment. This is when motion, strength, and endurance become the main areas of focus. Of course, each individual will be provided their own treatment plan, tailored to their personal needs.


At the end of the day, physiotherapists are health professionals, trained to reduce pain levels, restore function, prevent future injuries, and promote healing. Instead of opting for surgery, it’s critical to explore your options.


If you have experienced a rotator cuff injury, for instance, an individualised program will be created in order to regain function. Once your range of motion improves, the surrounding muscles and joints can be strengthened with a targeted exercise program. The same if true for those who require post-surgical rehabilitation — physiotherapy can help you recover more rapidly, with greater long-term results.


If you’re a baseball player, do not wait until pain develops. You do not need to suffer an injury to benefit from physio — in fact, those who take preventative measures, are already at an advantage. When it comes to your health — be proactive, not reactive. Whether you want to heal or just protect yourself from injury, physiotherapy is highly recommended.


Call us today on 9272 7359 to book your first appointment.