Predictors of elbow torque among professional baseball pitchers.

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Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery


BACKGROUND: Overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow continue to be prevalent in elite baseball pitchers. Pitch velocity has been shown to impact medial elbow torque in adolescent baseball pitchers. However, the determinants of medial elbow torque in professional baseball pitchers are not known.

PURPOSE: To determine the influence of pitch type, velocity, and player characteristics on medial elbow torque in professional baseball pitchers.

METHODS: Professional baseball pitchers were recruited for participation. Height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and throwing arm measurements were obtained for all study participants. While wearing a gyroscopic sensor equipped with an accelerometer, participants were instructed to throw a standard, randomized sequence of fastballs, changeups, and curveballs. Elbow torque, arm slot, arm speed, shoulder rotation, and ball velocity were recorded for each pitch. A linear mixed model was used to evaluate the association of pitch type with each pitch parameter, adjusting for pitchers' demographics.

RESULTS: A total of 12 professional baseball pitchers were included in this study. Among the pitch types, medial elbow torque was significantly higher in fastballs than in curveballs (P = .001). An increased BMI value was independently associated with decreased elbow torque in pitchers (P = .035).

CONCLUSION: Fastballs place significantly higher torque on the medial elbow than do curveballs, which is consistent with previous studies done on high school and collegiate populations. Pitchers with a higher BMI experience significantly less torque across the medial elbow.

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ePub ahead of print





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