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A home run for health: 5 ways to prevent common baseball injuries

Learn about the most common baseball injuries and how to avoid them with from experts at HCA Healthcare.

October 27, 2023

It’s hard to believe the World Series is already upon us. But while Major League Baseball is wrapping up its season, play never really stops — especially for youth and high school athletes. And with such a long season, athletes need to stay on top of their training to avoid injury. 

“Whether you’re playing in a competitive youth league or as part of a casual after work-team, baseball is a great way to stay active,” says Dr. Diego Lima, orthopedic surgeon with HCA Florida Healthcare. “Of course, there is a risk of injury in any sport, including baseball. But athletes can take precautions to make the most of their time on the diamond.”

Common baseball injuries

While contact in baseball is limited, athletes are still prone to injury. Some of the most common orthopedic injuries in baseball include:

  • Elbow injuries. The overhand throws we see in baseball cause significant stress on the elbow and tendons that connect it. Common injuries include tendonitis of the elbow and ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) inflammation or tears. 
  • Finger injuries. Baseball finger (sometimes also called mallet finger) is an injury somewhat unique to the sport. This condition is caused when the impact of a baseball causes a finger to bend further than it should. 
  • Rotator cuff and other shoulder injuries. Often impacting pitchers, shoulder and rotator cuff injuries develop with repetitive, high intensity throwing motions like we see on the pitching mound. These injuries can range from soreness and weakness to partial or complete tears — and some can be season-ending for players. 

Contact injuries aren’t all that common in baseball. But players can sustain contact injuries like broken bones, torn ligaments and concussions when they’re hit by balls, bats or other players. Athletes can also get injured when sliding into bases.

Cover your bases: Prevent baseball injuries

While not all baseball injuries can be prevented, athletes can stay safe from injury by taking a few simple steps.

1. Follow proper form

Overhand throwing motions place a lot of stress on the upper body. Make sure to follow a good throwing form to avoid inflammation, soreness and tears. 

2. Maintain your strength

Because so many baseball injuries are caused by overuse, strength training – including in the offseason – can help build strength to avoid some of the most common shoulder and elbow injuries. 

3. Progress to sliding

Players under the age of 10 should not slide to avoid injury. And even as young athletes grow, they should master sliding using breakaway bases before progressing to real bases. 

4. Warm up before play

Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Take time for a proper warmup before practices and games, and don’t neglect a cooldown afterward to prevent soreness.

5. Wear proper equipment

From cleats to batting helmets, wearing the right equipment will go a long way in preventing injury. 

Stay in the rotation 

Even the best baseball players can experience injuries. If painful symptoms are keeping you off the diamond, our specialists are ready with a wide range of orthopedic services to help you feel you get back in the game. Call (844) 671-4206 to get connected with an orthopedic doctor and find the care you need.

October 27, 2023

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