Skip to main content

Stay Off The Bench: Baseball Injury Prevention

Don’t get taken out by a curve ball. Whether you are playing little league, high school, college, or Major League Baseball there are several common injuries to be aware of.

“The most common baseball injuries vary from the shoulder, elbow and knee, along with muscle strains and sprains,” says Peter Chalmers, MD, a sports medicine specialist at University of Utah Health.

Thrower’s Shoulder

The motion of throwing puts stress on the tendons and muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint. This can cause rotator cuff injuries. Due to this constant use, rotator cuff tendons get worn out and small tears can occur. “These tears are most common with pitchers, but do occur in other baseball players as well,” Chalmers says.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff are:

  • Pain in the shoulder that could spread down the arm 
  • A tearing feeling

Pitcher’s Elbow

Another injury for those on the mound is a strained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), a pitching injury in the elbow. The UCL stabilizes the elbow preventing the joint from bending sideways and can be strained with repetitive throwing motions.

 With this injury, the elbow may:

  • Feel stiff making it hard to fully straighten the arm
  • Cause numbness or tingling in the ring and little finger
  • Impact grip strength

Knee Pain and Ligament Tears

Stealing home base or running the bases could impact your play because of a tear in your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medical collateral ligament (MCL). These ligaments help stabilize the knee when you are making sudden stops, landing on a flexed knee, or rotating the knee with a planted foot.

An ACL or MCL injury may:

  • Trigger sudden stern pain
  • Pop loudly
  • Feel like a snapping sensation

If the injury is mild to moderate, the ACL and MCL may be healed without surgery. But if the ACL or MCL is torn, you may need to restore the torn ligament.

Muscle Strains and Sprains

Right off the bat, the most common sports injuries are strains due to overuse. Baseball strains and sprains are usually in the back, arms, and legs.


The standard for treating acute sports injuries are rest, ice, compression, and elevation for the first 24-72 hours. If the injury doesn't improve then, it's a good idea to seek medical help.