5 Common Overuse Baseball Injuries: Prevention and Treatment Options


Baseball injuries today are more common in the sports world, mainly because players are on the pitch all year round and rarely get time to rest. However, you should note that this year is different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted numerous social events. Generally, the increasing competitiveness of youth baseball has increased overuse injuries among pitchers. To prevent such injuries, experts advise working with a physical therapist. Dr. Kevin McElroy of the Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine clinic offers highly customized physical therapy for sports-related injuries.

If your child is thinking of playing baseball, it’s high time you knew the common injuries experienced by baseball players, as well as how to prevent and treat them when they occur.

Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff has four muscles that connect from your upper arm to your shoulder joint. A rotator cuff tear occurs due to repeated shoulder throwing motions. Some of the symptoms include arm weakness, difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain, and inability to perform simple tasks such as combing your hair.

If this happens, you should take your child to the doctor immediately to avoid getting a ‘frozen shoulder’ or permanent shoulder immobility.

Muscle Strains

Muscle strains are known for putting professional baseball players on the disabled list, especially among pitchers whose jobs require repeated body rotations. These injuries occur when the players get a partial tear of the muscles or stretch injuries.

There are three categories of muscle strains, namely: grades 1,2, and 3. Grade 1 is the least severe injury caused by overstretching of the muscle. Grade 3 is the most critical, and it involves a complete tear of the muscles. Fortunately, this injury is less common.

Thrower’s Elbow

This injury is also known as “golfer’s elbow.”  A player will experience pain inside their elbow, which will then affect their throwing motion. Overuse is the main cause of this injury. Also, some pitchers suffer from thrower’s elbow due to poor throwing technique by pitchers.

Dead Arm

This injury is common among throwers, and it results in decreased velocity, low accuracy as well as reduced control. A dead arm is caused by overuse, which strains the arm muscles, causing fatigue, preventing players from throwing like they used to.

Surprisingly some players are never aware when they have a “dead arm” that is why it’s essential always to be observant when your child is playing to notice any changes in their motions. Failure to treat the injury immediately results in shoulder dislocation, also known as subluxation.

Labral Tear

The labral tear is a shoulder injury caused by damage to the cartilage surrounding the shoulder socket (glenoid). A pitcher will feel like their shoulder is ‘loose’ and unstable.

Prevention Measures

  • Doing adequate warm-ups before practice sessions
  • Learning how to do proper throwing techniques
  • Get enough rest and don’t pitch on days where you feel fatigued or are in pain
  • Make sure the player is cross-training by switching up activities

Treatment Options

  • Off pitch remedies such as elevation and ice compressions for acute injuries
  • Physical Therapy
  • Surgery

If you would like to learn more about these injuries and their treatment options, reach out to Dr. Kevin McElroy and his team for free telemedicine consultations.

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