Magnitude and variability of individual elbow load in repetitive baseball pitching

Bart van Trigt*, Thomas van Hogerwou, Ton A.J.R. Leenen, Marco J.M. Hoozemans, Frans C.T. van der Helm, H.E.J. Veeger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In baseball pitchers the elbow is exposed to high and repetitive loads (i.e. external valgus torque), caused by pitching a high number of balls in a practice session or game. This can result in overuse injuries like the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury. To understand injury mechanisms, the effect of repetitive pitching on the elbow load magnitude and variability was investigated. In addition, we explored whether repetitive pitching affects elbow muscle activation during pitching. Fifteen pitchers threw each 60 to 110 balls. The external valgus torque and electromyography of three elbow muscles were quantified during each pitch. Linear mixed model analyses were performed to investigate the effect of repetitive pitching. On a group level, the linear mixed models showed no significant associations of repetitive pitching with valgus torque magnitude and variability and elbow muscle activity. Significant differences exist between pitchers in their individual trajectories in elbow valgus torque and muscle activity with repetitive pitching. This shows the importance of individuality in relation to repetitive pitching. In order to achieve effective elbow injury prevention in baseball pitching, individual characteristics of changes in elbow load and muscle activity in relation to the development of UCL injuries should be investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17250
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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