Injury Report: Baseball Injuries
It’s time for this week’s HSS Injury Report! Throughout the year, we will be watching different sports and sharing more information on the injuries that different players sustain and the recovery process to get back in the game. To see last week’s injury report, click here. Check back next week for the next installment of the Injury Report!
“I believe this division might be won by the team that handles the injuries the best,” said Joe Girardi, New York Yankees team manager, in an interview with MLB.com. Baseball season is in full swing, and with players playing over 150 games a season, there are plenty of opportunities for injury, some caused by a single traumatic event and other caused by overuse. Here are a few of the injuries you might have seen in baseball this week:
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located in the back of the thigh. They are the most common muscles injured and usually occur during the “push-off” phase of running. The majority of acute hamstring injuries are partial thickness tears, or in other words, only part of the muscle has been torn. These can often be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). This will be done for the first week, followed by progressive functional physical therapy for three to four more weeks, as needed. Return to full activity is usually allowed when the patient is pain free, has full range of motion, and full strength. More severe injuries, lead to longer periods of rest with conservative management.
The rotator cuff is the complex of tendons and muscles that provide stability to the shoulder. A rotator cuff tear may occur as a result of a single traumatic event or, more commonly, repetitive microtrauma in any of the tendons that connect with these three muscles. In most cases, a trial of conservative treatment is warranted. This involves stretching and strengthening the rotator cuff muscles as well as the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade. In the past, surgical repair of a torn rotator cuff would be performed through an open or mini-open approach that requires a 1.5 to 4 cm incision, with a slow recovery period and considerable post-operative pain. Now patients have the option of arthroscopic repair – essentially the same procedure but with a minimally invasive technique – that makes a dramatic difference in comfort and produces excellent results.
There are two types of fracture – “stress fractures” and “compound fractures.”
- A “stress fracture” occurs when a moderate amount of force is applied over and over again to a specific bone. Most commonly, the bone breaks but does not shift position (“displace”). Athletes can develop a stress fracture if they repeat an activity over and over again. Stress fractures cause pain. The pain usually gets worse as you begin impact activities and gets better with rest. Immediately following a stress fracture, icing and elevating the affected leg can help decrease swelling and pain. Most stress fractures will heal with a reduction in the level of activity and wearing protective footwear for four to six weeks.
- Open (e.g., “compound”) fractures occur when the skin over the broken bone is torn, exposing the fracture to the air and external environment; this situation is more common in a high-energy injury. Open fractures should be treated as an emergency because of the risk of infection. Patients must be evaluated quickly – antibiotic medication and cleaning of the wound should be performed as soon as possible. In most situations, the patient will require an emergency surgical procedure to clean the wound and treat the fracture.