Rotator Cuff Tears in Baseball | A Prevention and Recovery Guide

Rotator Cuff Tears in Baseball | A Prevention and Recovery Guide

Some of the most common injuries in baseball are the ones you hear the least about. Everyone has a favorite athlete who’s fallen prey to a debilitating ACL tear, and if you frequent the field, you may have even gotten shin splints once or twice yourself. Still, there are plenty of lesser-known ailments that afflict the sport, and they’re all the more dangerous for the lack of knowledge around them. Just because it doesn’t roll off the tongue, doesn’t mean it’s not a real issue for many players.

The rotator cuff tear is the baseball player’s bane, but it can afflict all types of athletes and individuals. Read on to find out what it is, how to recover if you get one and what to do to keep it from happening in the first place.

Just What Is an RCT?

The rotator cuff is a set of muscles that connect your arm to its shoulder socket. The more you use it, the more it wears down. While rotator cuff injuries are typically seen in older adults, they are especially common among groups like painters, weightlifters and, you guessed it, ballplayers.

Outfielders and pitchers are at an elevated risk for rotator cuff tears. The muscle group is known to wear down over time, but occasionally it can be torn as a result of an acute injury. For example, if you put too much stress on it at once or land on it too hard while diving to a base, you may sustain an injury. RCTs won’t just mess up your game, either; they can make everyday activities like putting on a shirt painful and uncomfortable as well. They’re best dealt with swiftly and thoroughly so as not to get in the way of either your ball strategies or your everyday life.

Healing a Rotator Cuff Tear From Baseball Stress

Fortunately, most RCTs can be treated with simple methods that utilize over-the-counter medicine and plain good sense. Since it’s a repetitive stress injury, you’ll want to avoid the activities that caused it in the first place. No baseball and plenty of rest will be the order of the day for at least a little while. Anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen will usually be sufficient for reducing swelling and mitigating a good deal of pain, and looking into physical therapy might be a good idea too.

You can also use a shoulder brace to expedite your rotator cuff tear recovery and return to baseball sooner rather than later. A DonJoy Sully provides an extraordinary range of motion and support, and a waterproof brace will help keep your joints from being affected by inclement weather. Whatever your needs, there are a wide variety of braces available to help you get back in the game ASAP.

Unfortunately, some RCTs become so large or severe that surgery may be required. This is pretty rare, but it does happen, and it might be the best choice if:

  • You find that your shoulder is still in a lot of pain after six months to a year
  • Your ability to use your arm is severely limited due to pain or inflexibility.

A rotator cuff tear isn’t worth being benched over; so discuss all options with your doctor thoroughly before deciding how to proceed.

How to Prevent RCTs

There are some simple ways to prevent or at least radically reduce your chances of suffering an RCT. With a little diligence, you can enjoy many games of baseball to come with less risk of injury.

Always make sure you’re doing the proper stretches and physical conditioning exercises before you hit the field. Having a strong and flexible arm will greatly help to ensure that a rotator cuff injury doesn’t cramp your baseball style. Remember that this is a game of technique, not power, so learn the moves and don’t put too much strain on that shoulder!

That said, you should keep your arm strong, but you should also know when to pace yourself. An RCT most commonly takes the form of a repetitive stress injury, so don’t overwork your shoulder. As in all things, a healthy balance between work and rest will make you the safest and best athlete you can be.

And to really keep rotator cuff tears away from your baseball field of choice, invest in a shoulder brace. This will allow you a maximum dynamic range of motion and total comfort while playing the game. Check out our wrap-on pads for a simple and unobtrusive way to keep your shoulders safe, or go in for our Breg Curtis shoulder cuff for the ultimate in stabilization.

Hook it Up With SportsBraces.com

Even if you haven’t experienced a rotator cuff tear from playing baseball, there’s no reason you should want to find out what it’s like! You can explore a world of ergonomic braces, wraps, slings and more at SportsBraces.com, and save yourself a bundle of money in the process. Our inventory won’t just keep you out of harm’s way or help you recover from your injuries faster; even if you’re not currently suffering from any physical ailment, our stock is great for improving your mobility and flexibility overall, too.

SportsBraces.com is an online reseller of orthopedic bracing products, catering to patients all across the country. With over 25 brands in our inventory, we offer unparalleled variety and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Jim Rulison, CEO of SportsBraces.com, prides himself on putting patients first and providing the best customer experience; that commitment is demonstrated daily by our dedicated SportsBraces customer care team. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at customerservice@sportsbraces.com.


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