Reuters Health/Baltimore Sun—February 20, 2012
More Major League Baseball players are being sidelined with abdominal muscle strains, according to a new study that suggests there may be too much focus on building strength and not enough on stretching and flexibility in the pros.
The injuries, also known as side strains, typically occur with twisting or pivoting -- such as during a pitcher's throwing motion or a batter's swing -- and are also common in tennis and golf.
"Part of this is just, you're doing something that's not a natural motion... so the body takes a beating," said Dr. Joshua Dines, from Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who worked on the study. If you keep doing those motions over and over, he said, your body is going to break down at some point.
"I think there's also a balance between working out and also staying limber -- a lot of this is dependent on flexibility," Dines told Reuters Health.
"It's great to work out, great to do your core stuff. But make sure you stretch."
Dines and his colleagues looked back at 20 years worth of records from Major League Baseball's disabled list, which includes athletes that are sidelined for 15 days or more. By placing players on the disabled list, or DL, teams open up a spot on their rosters for healthy athletes to fill in.
From the 1991 through 2010 seasons, 8,136 players were placed on the DL, according to findings published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Abdominal strains accounted for 393 of those injuries, or about five percent.
Strains kept pitchers out for an average of 35 days, and position players for an average of 27 days.
This story originally appeared at reuters.com