Softball injuries treatment
Although softball is no longer an Olympic sport, it still is played on the professional arena and remains to be a popular sport in schools and universities across America. Invented initially as an indoor sport in 1887, it is now played on the outside. Albeit a bit less popular than the related sport – baseball, many youngsters enjoy playing this sport both in a competitive professional and recreational manner. When playing this sport recreationally, the game tends to be a slowed down version, however, it is just as physically demanding.
Both softball and baseball sports have very similar commonly occurring injuries – with wrist, back, shoulder and knee getting hurt most often. This is because motions employed in the sport put the biggest strain on those body parts. For example, with the shoulder and the wrist, when throwing a pitch, the arm, from the shoulder to the wrist, has to generate massive force and velocity so that the ball will travel the needed distance. The gripping motion of the bat also puts strain on the two body parts, thus generally causing overuse and all the consequences followed by it. The running done around the field is a fast sprint towards the next base, generally in abrupt motions, and puts strain on the knee ligaments. This tends to cause anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in the knee. However, the main reason which puts most softball players out of the game for a while tends to be the repetitive stress injuries, which are the result of the repetitive motions stressing the tendons and the joints.
Pitcher’s shoulder, or injury of the shoulder acquired while throwing the pitch, occurs frequently, due to the player pitching having to generate massive amounts of force and velocity to throw and guide the ball. The rotator cuff, which is a combination of 3 muscles and tendons supporting the shoulder, experiences strain, and causes irritation and inflammation in the tendon to occur, leading to varying degrees of pain passing through the shoulder and the arm when doing any overhead motions. This condition is known as rotator cuff tendinitis and is quite common among both baseball and softball players. In cases when the tendon is either partially or completely torn, the pain is far more severe and may partially disable the arm. In such cases, surgery is claimed to be the recommended solution by most orthopedists.
LIke in baseball, the two major elements of softball are pitching the ball by the fielding team and putting the ball into play by the batting team. Overuse causes repetitive stress injuries, and most commonly, the carpal tunnel syndrome. With this condition, the flexor tendons get irritated with the median nerve, which extends through the wrist’s carpal tunnel, gets excessive pressure, thus causing pain. An easy physical examination is carried out to determine whether the condition is indeed the carpal tunnel syndrome, using the Tinel’s test, where the physiotherapist taps on the inside of the wrist. If there is pain or a tingling feeling felt during this test, the most likely cause is this condition.
Knee pain is generally caused by damage to one of the ligaments in the knee. It can of course be a repetitive stress injury, but it is always worth getting it checked out. Considering the range of motion employed in movements such as sliding to base and brisk running from base to base, one of the most common complaints is the ACL injury, which is the anterior cruciate ligament injury. This ligament is located in the front part of the knee, which connects the shin and thigh bones, and enables the knee to extend and make rotative movements. Depending on the degree of the injury, the level of pain and movement is affected. Any injuries pertaining to the knee are best to be checked out as soon as possible, in order to start a rehabilitative process, if needed, before the knee deteriorates any further, causing the damage to be irreversible.
INJURY PREVENTIVE MEASURES
As with any contact, high level of physical intensity sport, the preventive measures include:
- Warm up before the practice and cool down properly after each softball practice
- Wear appropriate gear
- Practice the proper techniques to avoid putting additional, unneeded stress on the joints (such as sliding into base, pitching, etc)
In the instance where you have suffered an injury or experience pain while playing the sport, it is advisable to see a specialist and get the correct diagnosis (usually done through some sort of visual imaging device such as x-ray or ultrasound), and prevent further deterioration happening. Also, a simple rule of ‘RICE” after an injury is always useful – let the body Rest and recuperate, apply Ice and Compression to the injured area, and try to keep it elevated. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen will ease the pain.
TREATMENT AT OUR CLINIC
The treatment in NYCSPT revolves around a team of specialists, who have an extensive experience dealing with sports injuries and have cross-discipline understanding of orthopedics and nueromusculoskeletal conditions. This, in combination with innovative approach to rehabilitating sports injuries using state of the art technologies, enables us to treat a large spectrum of injuries, prevent their future recurrence, and enhance performance. A computer assisted rehabilitation environment (CAREN), under supervision from our team, uses the latest technologies to analyze the cause of the injury and develop locomotive strategies for the body to adopt in order to treat the injury. In addition to that, for the more serious injuries such as partial or complete tears of the tendons, and even tendinitis, treatment by extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is used, which sends localized shockwaves to the injured area, stimulating the healing process to get underway through increased bloodflow. All these treatments, among others that we offer at NYCSPT, are alternative treatments for medicine, which do not require any invasive procedures.