The game of baseball takes a toll on the body, especially when players advance from little league to high school, college, minor league, and the pros. The most common baseball injuries can range from mild to severe, from normal wear and tear on the joints and muscles to repetitive stress injuries, collisions with other players, getting hit with the ball, or bodily trauma. A chiropractor can provide ideal treatment for players of all ages and levels with decreased downtime and expedited healing and recovery.
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Although there have been a lot of advances in player safety and health, from helmets with face guards to shin and arm padding, the equipment lessens the impact and risks of injury. The game still involves running, sliding, twisting, and jumping, causing the body to maneuver awkwardly. Players often report sliding into first, feeling a pop or twisting to catch a fly ball, and feeling something snap. The most common injuries include:
- Cartilage surrounding the shoulder joint socket, known as the labrum, often gets torn.
- The soft tissue keeps the bones in place and provides stability.
- Pitching and throwing motions stress the labrum.
- With time, the cartilage begins to overstretch and tear, leading to swelling, shoulder pain, weakness, and overall instability.
Rotator Cuff Tears
- The rotator cuff structure involves a complex set of tendons and muscles that stabilize the shoulder.
- Pitchers are the most vulnerable, but all players are susceptible.
- Cases are caused by not warming up and stretching correctly and repetitive/overuse movements.
- Swelling and pain are the most common symptoms.
- With a severe tear, a player will lose the ability to rotate the shoulder correctly.
Shoulder Instability or Dead Arm
- This is when the shoulder muscles become overly fatigued, and the joint becomes unstable, losing the ability to throw precisely.
- The condition is called dead arm by players and trainers.
- This type of injury is caused by overuse and repeated stress.
- Healing involves letting the shoulder rest for an extended period, but treatment, like chiropractic or physical therapy, could be recommended depending on the severity.
- A pitcher’s elbow injury is caused by overuse and sustained/repeated damage to the tendons that rotate the wrist.
- Pain and swelling occur along the inside of the elbow and forearm.
Wrist Tendonitis and Trauma
- Wrist Tendonitis or tenosynovitis happens when the ligaments and tendons become tender, swollen, ruptured, or torn.
- This causes inflammation, pain, and weakness.
- Trauma injuries can result from collisions with another player, the ground, or a ball.
Knee Tears and Trauma
- Knee injuries can be caused by normal wear and tear, overuse, or traumatic impact.
- The fibrous bands are what stabilize and cushion the knee.
- Overuse and any awkward movement can cause the tearing of the various ligaments.
- The bands can develop micro-tears or complete ruptures, causing inflammation, pain, and instability.
Chiropractic Care and Rehabilitation
Chiropractic treatment and physical therapy have been found to help athletes maintain flexibility and range of motion, rehabilitate the body after an injury, and prevent new injuries or worsening of current injuries.
- Chiropractic helps stretch and flex the muscles to stay limber and less prone to injury.
- Chiropractic is a natural pain reliever for sore muscles and joint pain.
- Physical therapy can strengthen an injured area during recovery and educate on proper form and techniques.
- Taping and strapping can help support the elbows, wrists, ankles, and knees, reducing stress.
- A combination of treatment approaches can help decrease recovery time so players can get back on the field.
Shoulder Adjustment Baseball Injuries
Bullock, Garrett S et al. “Shoulder Range of Motion and Baseball Arm Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of athletic training vol. 53,12 (2018): 1190-1199. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-439-17
Lyman, Stephen, and Glenn S Fleisig. “Baseball injuries.” Medicine and sport science vol. 49 (2005): 9-30. doi:10.1159/000085340
Matsel, Kyle A et al. “Current Concepts in Arm Care Exercise Programs and Injury Risk Reduction in Adolescent Baseball Players: A Clinical Review.” Sports health vol. 13,3 (2021): 245-250. doi:10.1177/1941738120976384
Shitara, Hitoshi, et al. “Shoulder Stretching Intervention Reduces the Incidence of Shoulder and Elbow Injuries in High School Baseball Players: a Time-to-Event Analysis.” Scientific reports vol. 7 45304. 27 Mar. 2017, doi:10.1038/srep45304
Wilk, Kevin E, and Christopher A Arrigo. “Rehabilitation of Elbow Injuries: Nonoperative and Operative.” Clinics in sports medicine vol. 39,3 (2020): 687-715. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2020.02.010
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