Dr Kevin Farmer, MD presented research at the 2014 meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that a limited range of motion in a baseball pitcher’s hips could be a risk factor in the injury known as pitcher’s elbow. "This could open up a whole new line of thought processes and research," Farmer said. "We’re going to be able to ask: Is there an associated risk of injury down the road with limited hip range of motion, and can we minimize that risk by improving hip range of motion?"
To test how a pitcher’s hip range of motion affected his elbow, Dr. Farmer and his fellow researchers tested the pitching style of seven college Division 1 athletes at the UF Sports Performance Center utilizing a biomechanical throwing analysis. The lab features a pitching mound surrounded by high-speed cameras. The researchers placed motion-detecting markers on the pitchers’ joints. When the pitchers threw, the markers note the mechanics of their motion and the high-speed cameras took visuals. The results were made into a computerized, 3-D stick figure. Farmer and colleagues then analyzed all angles, speed and torques of the pitch, as well as how the different parts of the throw interacted with one another.
In this brief video clips, Dr. Farmer discusses the potential behind this new research and demonstrates how the athlete's motion is captured by the high speed cameras for biomechanical analysis:
The UF researchers correlated the hip range of motion to what they already knew could risk injury, and found that the less range of motion in their hips that pitchers had, the higher the risk to the pitchers’ arms. Pitchers unknowingly compensate for limited range of motion in their hips, which could place more torque on their elbows.
For more information this research and it's implications, please review the following news articles: