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Oblique Strains In Baseball: What They Are & How to Prevent Them

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

When most people think of baseball injuries, they think of torn rotator cuffs and worn-out elbows. Maybe a sprained ankle or finger here or there. “Oblique strains” don’t usually rise to the top of the list. However, oblique strains are becoming more common in baseball, according to a new study by former Dodgers athletic trainer Stan Conte of Conte Injury Analytics (reports MLB). Did you know…

    • 56% of oblique injuries are suffered by hitters.
    • 44% are suffered by pitchers.
    • 77% of all oblique injuries occur on the contralateral (“lead”) side in both pitchers and hitters.

So, what is an oblique strain?

The oblique muscles are core muscles in the abdomen that allow you to sit, stand and walk. An oblique strain is an injury that occurs when one or both of these abdominal muscles becomes overstretched or partially torn.

Researchers believe that oblique strains are becoming more common in baseball as players are constantly becoming bigger, stronger and faster – much in the same way that UCL injuries and Tommy John surgeries are becoming more common among high school baseball pitchers.

What are the symptoms of an oblique strain?

Symptoms may include…

    • Sudden sharp pain in the rib cage area
    • Tenderness (possibly accompanied by bruising)
    • Pain in core twisting/bending motions
    • Painful sitting or standing
    • Sneezing is typically reported as one of the most painful experiences when an oblique muscle has been strained

How are oblique strains treated?

Unfortunately, oblique strains are an injury that simply take time to heal. Athletes may have to take off anywhere from two to 10 weeks in order to find their oblique strain resolved. Treatment may include icing the abdomen and taking an NSAID.

What can I do to avoid an oblique strain?

The importance of cross-training can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to oblique strain prevention. Core strength is important to develop if you want to prevent an oblique strain (and you do!). Work with a trainer to ensure you are getting a balanced workout that reinforces core strength. Additionally, make sure that you are using proper form while pitching and batting.

Oblique Strain? See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor.

Are you experiencing symptoms of an oblique strain? See a Houston sports medicine physician for an evaluation and diagnosis. Schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.