Playing in multiple baseball games every week, along with the repetitive activity of an overhead throwing sport, stress to the shoulder and elbow escalates and results in overuse injuries as the baseball season progresses.
With the pressure to focus on one sport, athletes playing longer seasons (in some cases all year round) and the participation on multiple teams tends to lead to progressive arm soreness and frequently results in overuse injuries. Most commonly affected in baseball players are the shoulders and elbows.
Overuse injuries in baseball players can range from mild tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon), to sprains, tears, fractures and more.
But what causes these overuse injuries? What can you do to prevent them? And when is it time to seek medical attention or physical therapy?
Common causes of overuse injuries in baseball players:
- Excessive training
- Inadequate rest periods
- Poor throwing mechanics (especially when fatigued)
- Reduced flexibility and joint range of motion
- Decreased shoulder complex stability / strength
- Decreased strength and flexibility of the wrist
- Reduced flexibility, motion and strength of the lower extremities
- Poor core stability and strength
How to prevent these injuries:
- Appropriate dynamic warm up prior to throwing
- Pre-season and in-season conditioning and strengthening to focus on full body strength and stability
- Taking a season off to recover
- Icing when sore for 10-15 minutes after games /practice
Open communication between the parent, coach and the athlete is extremely important in injury management. Having an understanding of what amount of soreness is acceptable and at what point the athlete needs to sit out and refrain from playing through pain is extremely important. Playing through progressive pain can result in injury that may leave the athlete having to miss parts of the season.
When to seek medical attention:
In the absence of a definitive and traumatic injury many struggle with deciding when to seek medical attention for their pain. If an athlete has pain that persists and / or is progressively getting worse a consultation with a physical therapist is an excellent place to start.
It is easier to treat and address injuries / pain earlier on vs playing through the pain for months and allowing it to progress.
In the state of NH, physical therapy is direct access. This means that you do not need a referral from your primary care physician to be seen by a physical therapist (unless your particular insurance plan requires a referral).
At Bedford Physical Therapy we are musculoskeletal experts. We are trained to screen injuries and have the ability to identify what course of treatment may be best. (Including when an injury may benefit from a referral to an orthopedic surgeon or sports medical doctor).
Treating the injury with modalities to reduce pain, improve range of motion, strengthen appropriately to correct imbalances and flexibility training we work to get you back to the sport you love faster and with less pain.