Condition: While technically a muscle strain, oblique strains are common and problematic enough for pitchers that they often get special mention (though batters are no less prone to it as well). The oblique muscles are so central to the successful execution of tasks on the diamond that if they were called the baseball muscles in anatomy books there wouldn’t be many dissenting voices.

The obliques run across the abdomen between the lowest ribs and the pelvis. They belong to the collection of abdominal muscles and are divided into internal and external obliques. Their location provides the coiling-uncoiling power the rotation of the torso that’s central to generating power in sound pitching motions as well as hitting. Anatomically the obliques also serve a critical function of stabilizing the torso and pelvis as a tandem.

In general, strains occur whenever a given muscle is stretched past its normal range. Trauma can range from microscopic tears to complete ruptured from the bone. On rare occasions, the pulled muscle can take a tiny piece of bone with it, a condition called an avulsion fracture.

Symptoms: An oblique strain can range from considerable discomfort to a sharp nearly debilitating (though temporary) pain when the muscle is used. Acute pain can also be felt around the rib cage. Movement can result in varying degrees of discomfort.

If not diagnosed and treated, the oblique strain can lead to the baseball body to compensate for the loss of power, resulting in other body parts trying to make up the difference. The added stress could result in rotator cuff injuries or elbow problems.

Diagnosis: As with most injuries and other muscle tears, a proper diagnosis should be made by a doctor. While

Treatment: For most oblique strains, any combination of anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol/acetaminophen, warm/cold compress, and sometimes a brace can be used. Most importantly, the affected area should be allowed to rest and heal completely. Normally, the recuperation period lasts for a few weeks.

Players: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; Jarrett Palmer

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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