Article featured on NY Orthopedics
While it doesn’t share the same level of physical intensity as football or hockey, there are still several common baseball injuries that can place you on the bench indefinitely.
Explore some of the most common injuries in baseball to look out for and how our qualified specialists can help you take the field at 100%!
Torn Rotator Cuff
Your rotator cuff helps stabilize and control movement in your shoulder. Throwing a baseball over and over puts a lot of stress on the muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff. While this injury is most common in pitchers, any player is at risk of a tear.
Small tears can cause significant shoulder pain in your rotator cuff, making it difficult to throw a ball properly. More extreme tears can lead to severe immobility and pain that can put you out for a season – or your entire career – so it’s important to address these types of tears early.
Surgery is often required to address rotator cuff tears. Debridement, a surgical procedure that removes dead or damaged tissue, is a common way to address partial tears. For more severe tears, a sports medicine specialist may need to reattach the torn tendon to the upper arm. Recover time for this type of procedure takes around 6-12 weeks.
Tearing of the labrum, the thin layer of cartilage that covers your shoulder socket, is one of the most common baseball injuries that affect players. This is another injury you can sustain by repeatedly throwing a ball over time. As a result, pitchers tend to be the most at risk.
Minor labrum tears won’t often cause too much discomfort. However, major tears can lead to shoulder pain, swelling, instability and difficulty throwing a ball. Often, minor tears will rectify on their own with plenty of rest and anti-inflammatories. Several different surgical procedures are designed to repair more severe tears, which consist of removing any damaged tissue and, in some cases, reattaching the torn labrum back to the bone. Labrum tear surgeries tend to have a log recovery time, around 3-6 months.
Thrower’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, occurs when there’s damage to the tendons that connect the wrist to the palm. Damage occurs when players repeatedly flex and extend their forearm, which is common when throwing a baseball. Players that experience this condition will undergo pain along the inside of the elbow and forearm.
In most cases, Thrower’s Elbow will resolve itself with rest and anti-inflammatories. More severe cases may require steroid injections or surgery where a specialist will cut the tendon and remove any scar tissue. It may take around 4-6 months to return to the game.
The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is situated in the inner part of the elbow and helps to provide stability – especially when throwing a baseball. UCL tears are one of the most common baseball injuries that affect pitchers since repeatedly throwing a baseball at high-velocity places stress on the UCL. Over time, the UCL will weaken, causing small to large tears that can hinder movement and affect the accuracy of throws.
Surgical reconstruction is often the best way to rectify both major and minor tears, as minor ones often take very long to heal on their own. UCL reconstruction is so common in professional baseball, they nicknamed the procedure “Tommy John surgery,” after the famous pitcher who played in the MLB for 26 seasons and underwent the surgery in 1974. Recovery times for this procedure can be extensive, taking as long as 2 years before you can get back to your peak performance.
Hand & Wrist Injuries
While many don’t consider baseball a high-contact sport, wrists and hands are still prone to impacts that can cause injuries like dislocations, sprains, bruising and more. Hand and wrist pain associated with these injuries can range from mild to severe.
Rest and icing the area should be enough for the vast majority of these types of injuries. For injured fingers, it’s best to see a qualified sport medicine specialist so they can tape and stabilize the injury properly. Most common injuries will heal within 2-10 weeks.
The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.
Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.
Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.
If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209
8:00am – 4:30pm