Spring can mean different things to different people. Some hear the word “spring” and are quick to think about cleaning. This particular season is an ideal time to tackle the big projects that we’ve postponed until winter has passed, after all. For students, this means it’s almost time for a break from studies, and perhaps a family vacation. Of course, baseball fans in Cincinnati associate it with spring training and the nearing of Opening Day for the Reds!
Sure, the pros are getting back into action, but we also have a wide array of baseball leagues for those of us who won’t ever make it to the big leagues. Our greater Cincinnati communities have many little league programs, high school teams, and recreational opportunities for those who want to play baseball or softball.
Baseball and softball are fun, but—as with any sport or physical activity—they do have an inherent injury risk. Some of the more common lower limb injuries in these sports include ankle sprains, fractures, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, shin splints, and Achilles tendinitis. There are two sources of good news in regards to these injuries – they are often successfully treated with nonsurgical care and, even better, injury prevention measures can reduce the risk of them happening in the first place!
As we look at baseball injury prevention, you will want to keep the following tips in mind:
- Wear the right shoes. Our foot specialists can provide guidelines to ensure you or your child is wearing properly-sized footwear, but baseball shoes should be worn when playing baseball!
- Ease into the sport. If you are older than 40 years old—and especially if you are diabetic, smoke regularly, and have a physical disability—be sure to see your primary care physician to identify any potential health risks. Further, if you have existing foot problems, come to Family Foot & Ankle Center for a gait analysis and professional recommendations.
- Warm up and stretch. As with any sporting activity, it is imperative you prepare your body for intense physical exertion. Take time for jogging or lite running, stretch your lower (and upper) limbs, and play catch a bit before the game.
- Be mindful of the playing surface. Before you play a “pick-up” game of ball, look around for holes or indentations in the ground or rocks, sticks, and other debris that could cause someone to trip. Remove anything creating an unsafe condition
- Use proper sliding techniques. It can be exciting to try and beat a tag by sliding into the base or across home plate, but listen to coaches when they instruct the correct way to do so.