Top Six Most Common Softball Pitching Injuries

Christopher C. Dodson, MD May 21st, 2018

It’s softball season. Are you familiar with the risks of softball activity?

Are you aware of the common softball pitching injuries athletes tend to experience?

Most softball athletes are familiar with the risk of shoulder injuries from throwing activities. But many are unaware of the specific nature of the orthopaedic damage that may occur, the particular causes, and how it may be prevented.

The following list of common softball pitching injuries was compiled by the Sports Medicine experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. Awareness is the first step of injury prevention and the promotion of orthopaedic health. Learn more and have a safe season!

Keep An Eye Out For These Common Softball Throwing Injuries

he throwing activity associated with softball activity can cause a variety of orthopaedic issues, including softball shoulder injuries, softball elbow injuries, and more. Listed below are six of the pitching injuries that athletes tend to experience.

  1. Tendonitis
    Tendonitis describes inflammation of a tendon, typically caused by overuse. The repetitive throwing motions that softball pitchers perform may irritate the tendons of the shoulder, elbow, forearm, and wrist, causing tendonitis.

  2. Neck Pain
    The high-impact throwing activity of softball is commonly associated with shoulder injuries; however, the underhand motions of softball throwing may also create strain on the connective tissue of the cervical region of the spine. Upper back and neck pain is common among softball players; in severe cases, slipped spinal discs may also occur.

  3. Rotator Cuff Injuries
    The three bones of the shoulder (the humerus, scapula, and clavicle) are held in place by the rotator cuff, a group of muscles that cover the head of the humerus and enable arm lifting and rotation. The intense underhand motion of softball pitching can create stress, strain, and consequential wear-and-tear on the rotator cuff. If the responsible stressful activity is not reduced or halted, a rotator cuff tear may occur, which will be accompanied by symptoms of weakness, pain, and reduced arm mobility.

  4. Anterior Shoulder Sprains and Strains
    Sprains describe stretching or tearing injuries of the body’s ligaments. Strains refer to injuries of the tendons or muscles, and are more common among softball athletes. Anterior shoulder strains are common softball pitching injuries and will cause symptoms of pain in the front of the elbow. Repetitive high-impact shoulder usage and shoulder strains may result in chronic shoulder instability.

  5. Tennis Elbow
    Known medically as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow isn’t limited to tennis players; softball athletes also commonly experience this orthopaedic condition. Caused by overuse, tennis elbow describes inflammation of the forearm muscles and tendons. This causes symptoms of pain and sensitivity on the elbow’s outside; this pain can be quite severe.

  6. Ulnar Neuritis of the Elbow
    A final common elbow injury among softball pitcher is ulnar neuritis of the elbow. Also called cubital tunnel syndrome, this condition occurs when the ulnar nerve in the arm is compressed or irritated. This can cause symptoms of numbness and tingling in the ring and little finger, as well as a weakened grip.

Common Softball Pitching Injury Prevention

Occasionally, a traumatic orthopaedic injury, such as a shoulder dislocation, may affect a softball player due to a throwing accident. Overuse injuries, however, are far more common among softball players.

With that in mind, preventative methods should be aimed at preconditioning of the associated musculoskeletal components and the moderation of high-impact throwing activity. Players are advised to work with a coach or trainer to identify and target anatomical areas of weakness that may be prone to injury in their strength training.

Likewise, players who notice the emergence of pain, inflammation, or weakness in any of the muscles, bones, or connective tissues associated with throwing should immediately reduce the intensity and duration of their training and consult an orthopaedic specialist if symptoms persist.

Sports Medicine at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute specializes in offering injured athletes the targeted Sports Medicine treatments needed in order to make complete recoveries, return to sports activity, and promote long-term orthopaedic health. If you have experienced one of the above-listed common softball pitching injuries or an orthopaedic injury of any other type, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can provide you with the care you need. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

Related Physicians

Filter Physicians



Please select your region to view available physicians.

Select Your Region

Related Programs

  • Athletic Training- Sport Medicine Outreach

    Our Field Athletic Trainers provide direct sports medicine care to youth, high school, college and professional athletes. Rothman AT’s provide athletic training services throughout Southeastern PA and NJ to interscholastic high schools, colleges, as well as tournaments and special events.
    Read More
  • Women’s Sports Medicine Program

    The Women’s Sports Medicine Program at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is the first of its kind in the Philadelphia metro area and one of only several such programs specializing in the comprehensive care of the female athlete in the country.
    Read More
1 of 1
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.