Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major Tears in Professional Baseball Pitchers
Background Latissimus dorsi and teres major tendon tears are uncommon injuries. Only a few case reports exist, mainly in high-level athletes.
Purpose To describe a series of latissimus dorsi and teres major tendon tears in professional baseball pitchers.
Study Design Case series; Level of evidence, 4.
Methods Injury data from 3 Major League Baseball clubs were collected over a total of 10 seasons. Any baseball player who sustained an injury to either the latissimus dorsi or teres major identified on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was included. All injured players were treated nonoperatively with a goal of returning to full velocity throwing at 3 months from the time of injury.
Results Ten players sustained injuries to the latissimus dorsi and/or the teres major during pitching. The MRI findings documented 5 isolated latissimus dorsi tears, 4 isolated teres major tears, and 1 combined injury. All athletes returned to pitching, and all but 1 player returned to baseball at the same level of competition in the same season. Nine of 10 players returned at 3 months from the time of their injury. One recurrence was seen 6 months after returning to throwing; however, this healed with further nonoperative treatment, and the player returned to competition at the same level 6 weeks later. One player had continued shoulder symptoms and retired at the end of the season.
Conclusion Although uncommon, tears of the latissimus dorsi and teres major occur in professional baseball players. Acute injuries are demonstrated on standard shoulder MRI, although larger field-of-view images are required to accurately assess the injury. Most heal successfully with nonoperative treatment, and most players are able to return to the same level of competition in 3 months.