Physical Therapy For Baseball Performance Training
Is your son or daughter complaining about elbow or shoulder pain? Are you looking for baseball-specific exercise programs? At Movemend Rehab and Performance, our therapists understand the injuries that affect baseball/softball players and resolve them more significantly. Our team can give you the tools to recover from your injuries and maximize your on-field performance!
The popularity of baseball has spread throughout the globe and surged in popularity throughout Asia and Latin America. Baseball is recognized as America’s “national pastime.” Youth baseball is one of the most popular sports in America. Unfortunately, about 50% of youth baseball players experience shoulder or elbow pain during their season.
The demands of throwing dominate the type of injuries, and fortunately, at Movemend Rehab and Performance, our physical therapists are highly skilled at resolving these injuries. Our therapists also know what it takes to prevent injuries and improve performance through baseball-specific training programs.
Call Movemend Rehab and Performance today to learn how to help provide the most advanced training and rehabilitation to make sure you are competing in the game you love! However, physical therapy can help
Risk factors and common baseball injuries
The most common injuries in baseball ate to the arm. Overuse and fatigue are the most common causes of injury in youth baseball and all the way to professional athletes. In addition, pitchers lead the way when it comes to the position with the most injuries, and most of these injuries were chronic and due overuse related issues.
There are consistent risk factors associated with injuries the most notable are:
- Training or pitching load
- Loss of shoulder range of motion
- Previous history of an injury
Fatigue is in a category by itself for young baseball players. Research has shown that fatigue accounts for a 36 to 1 increased incidence of injury to the throwing shoulder and/or elbow. As fatigue increases, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of injury at any level.
The Little League International defines fatigue in three different ways.
- Event fatigue – too many pitches in a game.
- Seasonal fatigue – too many pitches and/or innings in a season.
- Year-round fatigue – playing youth baseball year-round.
Addressing the risk factors can help keep you on the field, but injuries are still possible. The most common injuries in baseball include
Little Leaguer’s Elbow: Young baseball players often develop Little League Elbow due to overuse or poor technique. The most common complaint is pain, but there is usually swelling and tenderness to touch on the elbow’s inner (medial) aspect. There can be a loss of motion in either the bent or extended position in severe cases.
Most times, the player will experience pain while throwing or immediately after. It is very common for the pain to worsen with more innings pitched or games played.
Little Leaguer’s Shoulder: In younger athletes, the epiphysis (aka the growth plates located at the end of the bone where growth occurs) is prone to injury. Often the growth plate gets irritated when an athlete throws too often or repeatedly throws the wrong way and hurts his shoulder.
Usually, the arm may be tender and sore, and it will hurt to throw. Fortunately, enforcing changes like making sure your child throws with proper form and doesn’t throw more than is healthy for their age and physical development.
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain. The ligaments on the inner side of your elbow are stretched or torn due to a throwing motion. In professional baseball, injuries to the UCL account for 10% of all injuries and can be devastating to a player’s career.
Muscle-tendon injuries. The most common strains occur to the upper leg and trunk and include the abdominal muscles, groin, and hamstring muscles. Injuries sustained by nonpitchers commonly occur from sliding, but other factors play a role.
Hamstring injuries most commonly occur in running bases or lunging/diving for the ball. In contrast, batting/swinging resulted in an increased risk of muscle strains to the core (i.e., oblique strains, abdominal strains, rib cage/rib muscle strains, intercostal muscle strains, and rectus abdominis strains).
Other factors like a history of the previous injury and the beginning of the season contribute to the increased risk. No matter the injury, rehabilitation should start immediately following most injuries to ensure the fastest recovery possible.
How physical therapy can help
Our physical therapists will perform injury assessments no matter the condition. We provide comprehensive treatments that include injury prevention programs and baseball-specific training programs.
In the beginning, it is necessary to identify all the factors contributing to the injury. We will take a medical and sport-injury history to understand more about the athlete’s throwing history, previous injuries, and overall health status.
Our programs are individualized, using baseball-specific treatments to alleviate pain and restore joint and tissue mobility in the early phases of rehab. There are baseball-specific protocols, including a return to throwing protocols and throw count progressions, that we will follow to ensure proper recovery and safety.
In addition, your therapist will instruct you on the most effective injury prevention strategies, including:
- Strength training: Strength training is one of the most effective injury prevention strategies to help baseball players (all positions) stay injury-free.
- Hydration: Getting adequate fluids is essential for recovery and injury prevention.
- Sleep: Proper rest is the most effective injury prevention strategy. Research has shown that lack of sleep increases the risk of injuries.
- Nutrition: Eating the right foods is the foundation for good health and injury prevention.
- Avoid Fatigue: One of the most important steps you can take, whether for youth baseball players or elite athletes, is to monitor and avoid overuse. Fatigue continues to be the driving factor behind injuries and is preventable with sound practices.
As you recover from your injuries, your physical therapy solutions will then incorporate a “return to sport” or “return to throwing” progression to assist you in a safe return to training and competition.
We will include neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercises to reduce ligament and tendon-related injuries. Our goal is to help you be prepared to take on the challenges baseball requires to compete at a high level!
Request an appointment with one of our experts today!
If you play baseball or are the parent of a young athlete, call Movemend Rehab and Performance today and learn how physical therapy can help you to resolve injuries and enhance your performance through baseball-specific programs.
Our team will assess the injury and provide effective solutions for your recovery and return to America’s Pastime!