Sports Specific Care
Softball Physical Therapy
Softball Physical Therapy for Pitchers, Hitters, Outfielders + Infielders
Physical Therapy to the overhead athlete not only encompasses the baseball player but the softball player. Throwing a softball is just as stressful to the shoulder and elbow as throwing a baseball. We take a 360 degree approach to our softball players; shoulder and elbow pain can have causes from the lower body and core and poor mechanics.
Often players are told to "rest" for a couple of weeks and when they return to throwing the same pain continues. This is because we have returned the athlete to the same environment they got hurt in and didn't identify the cause of their pain. Resting from throwing does not improve an athlete's abilities; it actually sets them back further. Our goal is to keep the overhead athlete throwing in some manner (there are exceptions) while they progressing through physical therapy treatment.
Conditions We Treat
The shoulder is most common area of pain in the softball player; from overuse, muscle imbalance, and having less muscle mass than their male counterparts coupled with the same volume of throwing.
Account for nearly 25% of all sports injuries; a 20% reduction in leg forces increases load on the shoulder by 34%. It is imperative ankle sprains be treated appropriately from the start.
Knee Sprains /ACL Tears
Girls tear their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) 5-7x more than their male counterparts, The female's pelvis is wider which changes mechanics at the knee; coupled with less core, hip, and knee strength, and more joint laxity in the knee, this predisposes the female athlete to a greater risk for injury. Overuse injuries like patellar tendonitis can also be common.
Low Back Pain
Due to asymmetrical nature of repetitive hitting and throwing from one side can produce low back pain.
Hip and Thigh Sprains and Strains
Can happen when running, sliding into base, or diving to catch a ball. With a smaller field size, quick and unexpected changes movement can lead to high torque demands on hip joint.
Differences between Softball and Baseball Players
Softball players have less upper body strength; males' on average have 75% more muscle mass and 90% more strength than females. Therefore, softball players need extra attention when to comes to proper shoulder/arm care and conditioning.
The softball is bigger and heavier than a baseball. This changes the arm slot for throwing and grip dynamics.
With shorter base pads and a smaller field, softball players must be quicker on their feet, have excellent reaction time, and have posses explosive defensive skills.
Softball Pitchers have pain too!
Softball pitching places no less stress on the arm than the baseball pitcher. The majority of softball teams carry a smaller of pitchers on their rosters as compared to baseball teams. This translates into more innings pitched for the softball pitchers as the "ace" throws the majority of games. Often these pitchers throw multiple games throughout the weekend and then are back at it during the week. This makes the softball pitcher particularly vulnerable to pain and overuse at the shoulder especially at the biceps and rotator cuff. Many players lack the endurance to throw this frequent as well as the proper rest and recovery.
Improper pitching mechanics put more strain on your shoulder, elbow, and wrist, which may increase your chance for injury. Poor pitching mechanics and overuse are a bad combination for the softball player. The legs develop the power, the core transfers it, and the throwing arm delivers the pitch . When this get out of sync, the pitcher is susceptible to injury.
How Can We Help?
If your athlete is having pain with throwing or has suffered an injury, Athletic Edge and Wellness understands the complexities and intricacies associated with treating the throwing athlete.
Don’t settle for the generic run-of-the-mill rehab you’ll get at the typical physical therapy clinics. Softball players shouldn’t go to just anyone to fix their problem, they should seek out someone who can provide them with the specialist-level care they need…and deserve. Contact us today for an appointment in our Algonquin, Il office.