Physical Therapy Is Important To Preventing and Recovering From Baseball Injuries
As baseball season opens this week, many New York Yankees fans are eagerly anticipating the return of their closer, the Sandman, Mariano Rivera. Rivera, who is often referred to by the Bronx faithful as Mo, was sidelined last season after a freak injury while shagging balls in the outfield in Kansas City, MO – turns out that the closer, who never appeared in fewer than 60 games in one season, had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was to be out for the rest of the 2012 season.
Knee injuries are common in all sports, particularly baseball where pitchers are using their entire bodies to hurl the ball and the offense often slides into the plate to ensure they make it before the ball does. Even recently, former Yankee now Baltimore Oriole, Wilson Betemit was carted off the field after he sprained his right knee running on a pitch.
Here at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we see numerous patients before and after surgery to repair their ACL or from other knee injuries. Physical therapy is an integral part of preparing for a healthy sports season or surgery, and recovering from surgery.
Pre-surgery physical therapy, or as we like to call it prehabilitation, prepares your body and mind for an upcoming surgery. By undergoing prehabilitation, patients will recover quicker and with less pain than those who don’t do any kind of pre-surgery therapy.
In post-surgery, we work closely with surgeons to customize a physical therapy plan for each patient, as each surgery is different from the next. We want to make sure patients return to their sport as soon as possible.
In addition to ACL tears and sprains, knee bursitis and meniscal tears are also common baseball injuries. Fortunately there are a few measures baseball players can take to prevent these injuries such as:
- Stretch and warm up properly: Stretching and strengthening the muscles and ligaments surrounding your knee can greatly improve your chances of maintaining a healthy baseball season. Cycle or perform mild cardio exercise for five to 10 minutes before beginning play can also help you prevent knee injury.
- Prevent overuse injuries: Many athletes, young and adult or professional, often play the same sport year round because we all know the age old adage: Practice Makes Perfect. With this, however, comes the risk of overuse injuries, or injuries due to performing the same motion required by the sport over and over again.
- Avoid dehydration: Keeping hydrated is important for replenishing fluids lost during sport. It is also your best defense against muscle soreness and keeps your muscles limber in order to avoid injury. Be sure to drink plenty of water
- Learn proper sliding techniques: In order to prevent concussion, players will often choose to slide to the bag feet first rather than head first if they have enough time, which is always the better option. But it’s important to know the proper technique when sliding feet first to avoid collision with the player on the bag or with the bag itself.
- Run the bases properly: Players can often injure themselves while running bases simply due to the angles running from one base to the next every 90 feet for often hitting the bag at a bad angle. It’s important to learn the best way to run around the bases to prevent knee and even ankle injury.