Slow Pitch Softball – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

It’s the time of year that many athletes long for — slow pitch softball season! This activity is great for fitness, socializing, and general enjoyment. While many participants make it through the season unscathed, many must see a sports medicine professional for injuries from playing. What are the most common injuries from this sport and what can you do to prevent them from happening to you?


Anyone who has ever pitched in a slow pitch softball league can tell you how tired their shoulders are afterward. While not as aggressive as fast pitch, the repetitive motion of throwing to player after player can cause tendonitis and bursitis. For outfielders, a collision with another player or the ground can instantly tear your rotator cuff. Overtraining is another contributor to shoulder damage, especially during extensive batting and pitching practices. Shoulder injuries are the most frequently treated sports medicine injuries resulting from softball.


Your softball glove provides protection to one hand, but far too often a bad catch will damage your unprotected fingers, hand, or wrist. Fractures, sprains, and bruises can be the painful result. A fall on an outstretched hand or a collision could cause major damage to the bones, tendons, and ligaments.


No matter your position on the field, chances are good that you’ll need to change direction at some point during a run. When this happens too quickly, a pop in your knee followed by pain and swelling may mean you have a torn meniscus or cartilage. Depending on severity, it may require surgical correction by a sports medicine professional. Another common softball knee injury is a torn or ruptured ligament, resulting in knee instability and pain, and also often requiring surgery.


A poor landing from a leap to catch a ball, a stumble during a run to first base, or a trip on the uneven surface of the outfield are common causes of ankle sprain. A bad sprain can be more difficult to heal than a fracture, and if not healed thoroughly could recur often.


The best tactic to prevent most of these problems is adequate warm up and conditioning. Your muscles must be prepared to perform the task at hand. Practice proper form, and stop before you become overtired.

Softball is a great way to enjoy warm weather and friendship. With a little preparation and common sense, your season can be fun and injury-free.

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