Kinetics of baseball pitching with implications about injury mechanisms

Am J Sports Med. 1995 Mar-Apr;23(2):233-9. doi: 10.1177/036354659502300218.


Elbow and shoulder kinetics for 26 highly skilled, healthy adult pitchers were calculated using high-speed motion analysis. Two critical instants were 1) shortly before the arm reached maximum external rotation, when 67 N-m of shoulder internal rotation torque and 64 N-m of elbow varus torque were generated, and 2) shortly after ball release, when 1090 N of shoulder compressive force was produced. Inability to generate sufficient elbow varus torque may result in medial tension, lateral compression, or posteromedial impingement injury. At the glenohumeral joint, compressive force, joint laxity, and 380 N of anterior force during arm cocking can lead to anterior glenoid labral tear. Rapid internal rotation in combination with these forces can produce a grinding injury factor on the labrum. After ball release, 400 N of posterior force, 1090 N of compressive force, and 97 N-m of horizontal abduction torque are generated at the shoulder; contribution of rotator cuff muscles in generating these loads may result in cuff tensile failure. Horizontal adduction, internal rotation, and superior translation of the abducted humerus may cause subacromial impingement. Tension in the biceps tendon, due to muscle contraction for both elbow flexion torque and shoulder compressive force, may tear the anterosuperior labrum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Acromion / injuries
  • Acromion / physiology
  • Adult
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Baseball / physiology*
  • Deceleration
  • Elbow Joint / injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Humerus / injuries
  • Humerus / physiology
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation
  • Rotator Cuff / physiology
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Tensile Strength