Common Baseball and Softball Injuries
June 18, 2016

As enjoyable as it is to watch baseball, one of America’s favorite pastime is sometimes a little less pleasant to play. In fact, playing baseball can result in a number of injuries that range in severity from mere nuisances to seriously traumatizing conditions, most commonly from excessive use or traumatic events. While following the rules and wearing the necessary protective gear aids in protecting players, some minor discomfort and periodic issues still arise.

Frequent Causes of Injuries

Most issues in baseball and softball are caused by one of two issues – excessive use or sudden serious stress. Injuries that arise from overuse result from chronic stress on the muscles, joints, and other soft tissues. Ballplayers constantly use the same body parts and connections in repeated motions without allowing the time for complete healing. What may have begun as a minor ache or discomfort can develop into an incapacitating issue if not treated promptly.

Acute issues are typically caused by an unexpected force or collision. In most cases these issues are caused by a collision, fall, or other dramatic experience.

Issues of the Shoulder

Shoulder issues are the most common health conditions related to softball and baseball. These injuries typically result from the repeated exertion of the arms and shoulder, in such activities as pitching and throwing. The most frequently reported issues are:

• Tendinitis – Tendinitis arises when the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming damaged, swollen, or otherwise irritated due to overuse.
• Bursitis – The fluid-filled sac located between the rotator cuff and the bone at the top of the shoulder may become inflamed. As it does, it may swell and fill with fluid. This condition may result in excessive pain or discomfort.
• Impingement – With excessive use, the expanse between the top of the shoulder blade and the rotator cuff constricts. As this happens, the blade of the shoulder may rub along the tendon and cause pain.
• Rotator Cuff Tear – The rotator cuff is the group of tissues in the shoulder that facilitate rotation of the arm. As the arm is used excessively, the tendon can become worn or frayed in a partially torn rotator cuff or completely be separated in a total tear.

Other injuries that are typical in the shoulder include stationary shoulder, shoulder separation, instable shoulder, and arthritis.

Issues to the Elbow

Issues in the elbows are also relatively typical in softball and baseball with the excessive use of the throwing movement. Typical conditions of the elbow include Little League Elbow, bursitis in the bend of the arm, and tennis elbow. Each of these issues result from irritation and swelling in the elbow caused by excessive use of the soft tissues surrounding the joint.

Issues of the Wrists and Hands

With catching, pitching, and throwing being essential components of the sport, issues to the wrists and hands are frequent. Some of the most frequently reported issues of the hands and wrists include sprained wrists, finger breaks, and tendinitis of the wrist.

Issues of the Back

Softball and baseball can also cause common issues in the back. Muscle strain, low back irritation, and herniated disks are all commonly reported issues by ballplayers. Each of the problems result from excessive use and may also be a result of a traumatic injury like a collision during play.

Issues of the Knees

Of any of the frequent baseball and softball injuries, those to the ligaments in the knees are among the most typical and aggressive. These sports require frequent commencing and ceasing of motion as well as quick direction changes. These motions cause extreme force on the knees, which can cause tears in ligaments.

Meniscus injuries are also frequent in baseball and softball. These conditions arise when the knee cartilage that pillows the thigh bone and shin bone becomes torn.

Other common issues in the knee include chondromalacia, the tempering of the base of the kneecap, and tendonitis, irritation of the tendon in the knee resulting from excessive use.

Assorted Injuries and Discomfort

In addition to the more aggressive conditions, softball and baseball also contribute to an assortment of other injuries and conditions. The most common miscellaneous conditions include blisters, delayed-onset muscle soreness, pain, and stress breaks.

While injury cannot be completely avoided in these sports, being sure to warm up and using good form and technique during play helps. It is also important to check the playing field for debris, always have a first aid kit available, and stay hydrated. Allowing time for adequate recovery is also essential in the event of an injury.