Common knee ligament injuries in baseball players

Baseball is an explosive activity requiring players to sprint all out at times from a dead stopped position. This includes not only the players running the bases but also the fielders. The act of sliding and colliding with other players can also cause significant stress and injuries to the players’ knees.

The Most Common Baseball Knee Ligament Injury

The most common knee ligament injury in baseball is a sprain or tearing of the medial collateral ligament (MCL). This is the ligament on the inside part of the knee. Fortunately, even a full tear of this ligament almost never needs surgery and will heal with bracing and a few weeks of rest.

Other Common Baseball Knee Ligament Injuries

Another knee ligament injury we see in baseball is tearing of the ACL. Unlike the MCL, when this ligament is completely torn it will not heal. The leg will remain unstable and players cannot twist or pivot on the leg without the knee giving out.

Reconstruction for the ACL has become routine for orthopedic sports medicine specialists and the surgery is done as an outpatient procedure.

What You Should Do if You Hurt Your Knee Playing Baseball

Any time you suspect a knee ligament injury in baseball or any other sport, the most important thing to do initially is apply ice. Put the ice on the knee for 20 minutes every hour for 2 days but be careful not to freeze your skin.

Next, see an orthopedic sports medicine specialist who sees these types of injuries daily. In my practice we can usually see injured athletes the same day or the next day so you can get a quick and accurate diagnosis.

The right diagnosis is the key to getting back to normal activities and sports as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Knee Ligament Injuries in Baseball

Keys to preventing knee ligament injuries in baseball is good conditioning. Make sure your legs are strong in the pre-season and also during the season. Be aggressive about stretching your hamstrings and quads as well as your calf muscle.

If you are feeling tight during practice or a game, stop and stretch out. If you have a trainer on your team, have him work on your knee to prevent any injuries.

More injuries occur when the leg is fatigued so be careful towards the end of the games and practices as this is when you are more likely to get hurt. It is always better to prevent an injury rather than having to deal with it after you get hurt.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Health Associates and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.