Though shoulder and elbow injuries tend to get the majority of attention with overhead throwing sports such as baseball and softball, knee injuries also do occur. During the World Series last year, Kyle Schwarber got a lot of attention after returning to play 6 months after tearing his ACL during a collision with another outfielder. Just this season in Boston, both Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval have gone down with knee injuries. The Mayo Clinic performed a study last year and found over 2,000 knee injuries in the MLB from 2011-2014.
Common Knee Injuries In Baseball and Softball
Ligament Injuries: These have been found to be the most common injuries to knees in baseball/softball. The MCL is the most common ligament injured - this is the ligament that runs along the inside of the joint. The ACL the second most common ligament injured, and this is a major ligament that runs through the center of the joint. Injury to knee ligaments can occur through contact injuries or non contact injuries where the knee buckles.
Cartilage (Meniscus) Injury: The cartilage in the knee provides padding and a smooth covering for the joint surfaces. Injury to the meniscus often occurs when the foot is planted and the player pivots on the leg, and also can happen due to falling directly onto the knee.
Patellofemoral Syndrome: Patellofemoral syndrome is pain around the kneecap area and is most common with catchers.
Ways to Help Avoid Knee Injury in Baseball and Softball
Proper warm up and preseason training: Research has shown that strengthening certain muscles around the hip and knee can help prevent knee injuries from occurring. Proper warm up is key as well; some injury prevention programs such as Fifa 11+ is designed for soccer can be adapted to baseball.
Proper technique: Using proper form with running bases, fielding the ball, or especially catching goes a long way to prevent knee injuries. Working with a coach or instructor on proper form then practicing it on your own will help you reduce the likelihood of injury.
See a physical therapist: Physical therapists are experts in assessing movement and identifying imbalances that are likely to lead to injury. They will help you with exercises to address imbalances and help not only reduce your likelihood of injury, but also improve your performance. Having a therapist who is familiar with the movements associated with baseball and softball is key.
At Complete Game Physical Therapy, we’re experts in the treatment of baseball and softball players. Contact us at 978-710-7204, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or browse our website. Also check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on staying injury-free this season.