Pitching Speed and Glenohumeral Adaptation in High School Pitchers.

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Glenohumeral internal rotational deficit and increased glenohumeral external rotation are common findings in baseball pitchers. To the authors' knowledge, no study has focused on the adaptation of glenohumeral internal rotational deficit and increased glenohumeral external rotation in relation to pitching speed. This study evaluated changes in range of motion in the throwing shoulder in high school pitchers to determine whether changes in internal and external rotation directly correlate with pitch velocity. The shoulders of 22 high school varsity pitchers were evaluated. Standard goniometric technique was used to measure passive external and internal glenohumeral range of motion in both arms. Measurements were evaluated for statistically significant differences in range of motion. Demographic features, including height, weight, and age, were assessed. Fifteen consecutive in-game pitch speeds were recorded, and the fastest pitch was used for evaluation. Pitch speeds were correlated to the player's glenohumeral internal rotational deficit, increased glenohumeral external rotation, and physical demographics. Average age was 16.9 years. Average external rotation of the throwing arm was significantly greater than that of the nonthrowing arm (143.00° vs 130.32°, P=.005). Average internal rotation of the throwing arm was significantly less than that of the nonthrowing arm (49.50° vs 65.90°, P=.006). Both shoulders had similar total arc of motion (throwing shoulder, 192.54; nonthrowing shoulder, 196.23; P=.822). Average maximum velocity was 77.7 mph (maximum, 88 mph; minimum, 66 mph). Maximum pitch velocity did not correlate with changes in glenohumeral internal rotational deficit (P=.683) or increased glenohumeral external rotation (P=.241). There was also no evidence of correlation between pitch velocity and player age, height, weight, or dominant hand. The stress of pitching creates adaptations to the throwing shoulder, even in young athletes. There appears to be no significant correlation with a pitcher's maximum velocity and the amount of adaptation in shoulder range of motion.

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Adaptation, Physiological; Adolescent; Baseball; Functional Laterality; Humans; Male; Physical Examination; Range of Motion, Articular; Rotation; Shoulder Joint; Upper Extremity; Young Adult

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