In April, we welcome warm weather, spring breaks, and America’s favorite pastime. As spring training ends and the six-month baseball season begins, baseball players must work to prevent overuse injuries from occurring through 160+ games.
In part due to the unnatural arm motion required for pitching and throwing in baseball, arm and shoulder injuries are very common. During overhead throwing motion, the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder are used. Significant stress is placed on the rotator cuff muscles during a pitch; these muscles stabilize the shoulder joints and decelerate the arm throughout the large range of motion, speed, and force required to pitch.
Overuse injuries are due to cumulative wear and tear, often wearing of ligaments and tendons placed in tension during movement.. For baseball players, a ulnar collateral ligament tear is quite common, and typically requires surgical intervention to repair. This injury is colloquially called a “Tommy John” injury and surgical repair.
Less commonly, baseball players can experience hip and groin injuries as well, as the hip is rotated and loaded during throwing and pitching motion.
Baseball players, both professional and recreational, require appropriate rest periods, proper warm-up, and coaching in correct and safe technique to prevent injury.