Welcome to the injury glossary. Below is a list of each type of injury you’ll come across in fantasy baseball, with explanations of the injury itself and an expected timetable to get back on the field. We’ll be referencing this and we encourage you to head back to this page whenever you hear about injuries through the season. We’ll be adding/tweaking here and there wherever we see fit as well.
DISABLED LIST TYPES
7-day DL (Concussion DL): The 7-day DL was created for players with concussion symptoms and Instituted so that a player who passes concussion protocol does not need to be out for 15 days (now 10). Players can be placed on the 7-day DL retroactively, though no more than 5 days can be backdated.
10-day DL: The shortest DL option for non-concussions injuries. Players must remain out of action for 10 days and can remain on the DL after 10 days if necessary.
60-day DL: The longest DL option, where an injured player must remain out of action for at least 60 days. Players on the 60-day DL are temporarily removed from the team’s 40-man roster.
What is it? – A broken, chipped, or cracked bone. Often caused by a severe acute traumatic event. Different etiology will cause a different fracture pattern which can alter the management of the fracture. A fracture will often need to be ‘reduced’ or ‘set’ in order to heal correctly.
What’s the timetable? – Most players with a fracture need 6-8 weeks to recover. Four in a cast or splint, followed by 2-4 to regain physical strength and range of motion before returning to the majors. This recovery time will vary based on the location of the fracture. Refer to the chart below for approximate timetables. Use these timetables as a guide before individualized information is available. Individualized information should always take precedence.
|Face||4-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Thumb||2-6 w immobilized, 2-6 rehabbing|
|Finger||3-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Wrist||6-8 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Hip||4-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Toe||4-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Rib||4-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Hand||4-8 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Shin||8-12 w immobilized, 4-6 rehabbing|
|Shin, stress fracture||6-8 w immobilized, 4-6 rehabbing|
|Elbow||6-8 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
|Forearm||2-6 w immobilized, 2-4 rehabbing|
What is it? – A contusion is simply a bruise – a traumatic injury to soft tissue in a region which can cause small blood vessels to burst. Blood is trapped under the skin causing increased pressure and pain in that area.
What’s the timetable? – Contusions don’t typically require a DL stint. Typically players will either play through a contusion or go day-to-day.
What is it? – A traumatic injury to a bone that is less severe than a fracture. Bone bruises are not visible via x-ray and must be diagnosed through MRI. A bone bruise can result in pain and swelling of the affected area.
What’s the timetable? – Timetable can vary wildly, from 1-2 weeks up to 6 months. Recovery timetable is dependent on severity and location of the injury, and cases should be considered on an individual basis.
What is it? – A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between a bone and nearby soft tissue. The suffix ‘itis’ refers to inflammation of a structure. Bursae are located within every major joint of the body. Bursitis can often be attributed to repetitive trauma (e.g. throwing a baseball).
What’s the timetable? – Mild cases of bursitis can resolve within 2-4 weeks. More severe cases may require surgical intervention. Recovery from surgery is typically 6-8 weeks. Since bursitis is an inflammation condition, bursitis has a high chance of recurrence if not allowed to completely resolve.
What is it? – The inflammation of a tendon – the thick chord of soft tissue that affixes muscle to bone. Usually a repetitive stress injury, where micro-tears within the tendon occur.
What’s the timetable? – Recovery from tendinitis will depend on the severity of the injury. Mild cases can resolve within 1-2 weeks, while more severe cases can take upwards of 2 months. If surgical intervention is required, recovery can take up to 6 months. Tendinitis, an inflammation condition, has a high chance of recurrence if not allowed to completely resolve.
What is it? – The stretching or tearing of a ligament – the connective band that holds two bones together. Often occur due to an acute traumatic event. Three degrees of sprains are identified:
First Degree: Mild stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament.
Second Degree: Partial tearing of the ligament. There is noted laxity of the joint when completing a particular movement.
Third Degree: Complete tearing of the ligament. The joint is unstable and non-functional. Requires surgical intervention.
What’s the timetable? – Mild sprains can heal with rest and conservative treatment in approximately 4 weeks. Recovery timetable after surgery to repair a third-degree ligament sprain will depend on the ligament injured. For instance, recovery after surgery to repair a torn thumb UCL is typically 6-8 weeks. Meanwhile, surgery to repair a torn elbow UCL, commonly known as Tommy John surgery, has a recovery timetable of 12-18 months. Refer to the chart below for approximate timetables. Use these timetables as a guide before individualized information is available. Individualized information should always take precedence.
Note: “Conservative” treatment comprises a combination of non-surgical strategies. Mainly rest, protection/immobilization, icing, and compression. Think normal circumstance without intervention.
|Thumb UCL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Thumb UCL||Second||Conservative or surgical||4-6 w|
|Thumb UCL||Third||Surgical||6-8 w|
|Elbow UCL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Elbow UCL||Second||PRP, stem cells, primary repair or TJS||4-6 m|
|Elbow UCL||Third||TJS||12-18 m|
|Knee ACL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Knee ACL||Second||Conservative||3-4 m|
|Knee ACL||Third||Surgical||6-9 m|
|Knee PCL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Knee PCL||Second||Conservative||3-4 m|
|Knee PCL||Third||Surgical||10-12 m|
|Knee LCL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Knee LCL||Second||Conservative||3-4 w|
|Knee LCL||Third||Surgical||4-6 m|
|Knee MCL||First||Conservative||1-2 w|
|Knee MCL||Second||Conservative||3-4 w|
|Knee MCL||Third||Immobilization||3-4 m|
|Knee Meniscus||Torn||Surgical||6-10 w|
What is it? – Similar to a sprain, a strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. A strain can often be attributed to an acute traumatic event. Three degrees of strains are identified:
First Degree: Little tissue tearing and mild tenderness. Pain with a full range of motion.
Second Degree: Torn muscle or tendon tissues. Limited range of motion, muscular dysfunction, moderate to severe pain.
Third Degree: Limited or no range of motion. Pain is severe. Total dysfunction of the muscle-tendon unit. Requires surgical intervention.
What’s the timetable? – Mild strains, commonly called a ‘pulled’ muscle, can usually resolve with rest in just a few days. If surgical intervention is required, the recovery timetable can be more than 6 months depending on the muscle-tendon unit affected. Refer to the chart below for approximate timetables. Use these timetables as a guide before individualized information is available. Individualized information should always take precedence.
|Latissimus Dorsi||Second||Conservative||1-3 m|
|Latissimus Dorsi||Third||Surgical||4-6 m|
|Rotator Cuff||Second||Conservative||1-3 m|
|Rotator Cuff||Third||Surgical||2-6 m|
|Calf/Achilles tendon||Second||Conservative||1-3 m|
|Calf/Achilles tendon||Third||Surgical||5-9 m|
What is it? – The inflammation of a nerve, which can result in the loss of sensation of the nerve dermatome (area of skin it supplies) or muscle function in muscles the nerve innervates. Often a repetitive stress injury.
What’s the timetable? – Neuritis is difficult to provide a timetable for. In general, neuritis can resolve with rest and conservative treatment. However, a surgical procedure to ‘release’ the entrapped nerve is often required. Recovery from this procedure can take up to 6 months, depending on the severity and location of the condition. Furthermore, nerves regenerate slowly, and sensation and muscle function can remain impaired months after surgery.
What is it? – Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, typically form due to repetitive stress on the surface of a joint. They are commonly seen in individuals who experience osteoarthritis. Osteophytes can limit joint movement and cause pain. Osteophytes can often be surgically removed. Risks and benefits of surgical intervention are dependent on location and severity of osteophytes.
What’s the timetable? – Bone spurs are removed through surgical means, and typically require 6 weeks to recover. Many players opt to play through this condition and receive surgical intervention in the offseason.
THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME
What is it? – The thoracic outlet (superior thoracic aperture) is an area through which nerves and blood vessels pass on their way from the torso to the arm. The brachial plexus, a large grouping of nerves which divides to innervate every muscle and dermatome in the arm, passes through this area – 95% of TOS cases involve nerve-related symptoms. The thoracic outlet is bordered by the first thoracic vertebrae, the first rib along with its costal cartilage, and the anterior and middle scalene muscles. There is evidence of congenital abnormalities contributing to TOS – for instance, an extra rib above the first. Issues can also derive due to the repetitive stress of throwing, especially when the scalene muscles are inflamed. This inflammation, in essence, makes the thoracic outlet much tighter, which inhibits nerve conduction and blood flow through this area.
What’s the timetable? – Surgical intervention for thoracic outlet syndrome involves removing the first rib, as well as the anterior and middle scalene muscles in an effort to open the thoracic outlet. Less than twenty MLB pitchers have undergone TOS surgery, so data for recovery is limited. Furthermore, as with any neurogenic condition, it is difficult to approximate when (or if) a player will make a full recovery. Nerves regenerate slowly, at a rate of about 1mm per day for the average person. In the case of TOS, if the nerve damage is complete up to the point of the obstruction, it can mean upwards of an entire year after surgery to regain sensation in the fingers.
What is it? – The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that runs along the sole of the foot. It helps to maintain the arch of the foot while bearing weight. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this ligament, which is caused by repetitive stress – and is usually attributable to running. Plantar fasciitis presents with pain in the bottom of the foot, mostly at the heel.
What’s the timetable? – Rest is the ideal intervention. Surgical intervention involves cutting the plantar fascia to reduce inflammation in a process called a plantar fasciotomy. Recovery from surgical intervention is typically 3-4 months. Additional complications such as heel bone spurs can occur and may require additional intervention.