“Baseball Elbow” or Elbow Valgus

The MLB season is underway! Time to look at elbow injuries in baseball pitchers. Elbow valgus is very common and 50% of professional baseball pitchers experience elbow or shoulder pain sufficient enough to keep them from throwing at some point in their careers.

The elbow is susceptible to injury due to the high pitch speed and excessive range of motion. This puts a lot of tension on the medial side of the elbow, AKA valgus extension overload, which is where the ulnar collateral ligament is stabilizing the joint. The research suggests that the higher the shoulder in an abducted position equals greater stress on the medial side of the elbow.

There are four parameters that appear to increase the risk of valgus extension overload: shoulder abduction angle, shoulder movement velocity, elbow angle at the instant of peak valgus stress, and peak shoulder external rotation torque. This information provides a foundation for clinicians to work with athletes and coaches to help reduce elbow valgus injuries in baseball pitchers.

Time to sit back and relax at the ball field as the Major League Baseball season warms up. Take a look at the different pitching techniques, and now you will be more capable of picking out the throwing styles that are more susceptible to elbow injuries.

See the attached article for a deeper look at the relationship between throwing mechanics and elbow valgus in professional baseball pitchers:  “Baseball Elbow” – Elbow Valgus

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