Softball and baseball require running, jumping, throwing, and swinging movements. Even for the fittest athletes and weekend warriors, the body and the neuromusculoskeletal system will go through overuse injuries, throwing-related injuries, sliding injuries, falls, collisions, and getting hit by the ball. Chiropractic and physical therapy can assist athletes by integrating strength training, body realignment, and rehabilitation injury recovery.
Softball and Baseball Injuries
Baseball and softball injuries are generally defined as either acute/traumatic or cumulative/overuse injuries. Both types can occur in various body areas, for example, a knee injury caused by a fall or quick repositioning shift.
- Injuries occur from traumatic force or impact.
- These occur over time from repeated stress on the muscles, joints, and soft tissues.
- Often athletes return too soon to play, not giving the injury enough time to heal fully.
- They begin as small aches and pains that can progress into chronic conditions if not treated.
Shoulder overuse injuries are very common. Constantly performing the throwing movements and high-speed throwing strains the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- In softball, bicep injuries are more common than shoulder injuries.
- In baseball, the overhead throwing position leads to shoulder problems.
- Characterized by a restricted range of motion and pain.
- Athletes with frequent shoulder injuries have an increased risk.
- Softball and baseball players are more susceptible to injury from overhead throwing, which stretches the shoulder capsule and ligaments.
- Shoulder instability can lead to loose joints and dislocation.
- This is the tearing of the ligaments that connect the shoulder blade to the collarbone.
- This is often a traumatic injury that occurs during a collision or fall with outstretched hands.
Shoulder Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Impingement Syndrome
- These are overuse injuries in which the shoulder joint becomes inflamed, restricting movement.
Torn Rotator Cuff
- The rotator cuff tendons develop tears from overuse.
Elbow injuries are very common, especially damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, which stabilizes the elbow when pitching and throwing.
- Pitchers can also develop elbow sprains.
- Damage or tear to the ulnar collateral ligament
- Damage often is caused by pitchers throwing too much.
- This is inflammation of the joint sac.
Little League Elbow
- This is an injury to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow.
- It can be caused by the wrist flexors pulling on the inside.
- It is typically attributed to overuse and improper mechanics when throwing.
- This overuse injury on the outside of the elbow makes it difficult to lift or grasp objects.
Hand and Wrist
Softball and baseball can cause hand and wrist injuries from catching, colliding, falling, and overuse. Damage to a hand or wrist is typically caused by repetitive stress and/or a sudden impact.
- These can be caused by impact on the ball or falls.
- This can happen during contact with another player or diving for a ball and hitting the ground hard or at an awkward angle.
- A fall or impact from the ball or another player can cause these.
- This is an overuse injury, often from pitching and/or throwing.
- Catchers are especially prone to back injury because of the crouched position and overhead throwing.
- Softball pitchers also experience back strain from the windmill pitching action.
- Common conditions include chronic muscle strains, herniated discs, low back issues, sciatica symptoms, and pain.
Softball and baseball players quickly twist or rotate their knees, making them more susceptible to injuries. Sprains, meniscus tears, ACL tears, and hamstring strains are common.
- Aggressive twisting and pivoting can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain.
- Running and sudden changes in direction can result in acute knee injuries and overuse injuries.
- Knee issues require examination for proper diagnosis.
- Other common injuries include ankle sprains, stress fractures, and tendonitis in the foot and ankle.
Chiropractors work with a massage therapy team to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractic specializes in spinal adjustments and other treatments, including joint manipulation, myofascial release, MET techniques, trigger point therapy, and electrical stimulation. It encourages expedited recovery for sports-related injuries because instead of focusing on just the injuries, chiropractic assesses the mechanics of the whole body through proper alignment and release of constricted tissues. Adjustments of the spine and extremities allow the body to realign for better overall functionality, reduce pressure, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation to promote increased and thorough healing.
Improving Athletic Performance Through Chiropractic
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