The Effects of Contralateral Trunk Tilt on Elbow Varus Torque in Baseball Pitchers: A Critically Appraised Topic

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Clinical Scenario: Ulnar collateral ligament injuries are common in baseball pitchers, with excessive elbow varus torque linked to medial elbow injuries. Trunk tilt, or motion in the frontal plane, could be an identifiable and modifiable factor in medial elbow loading. Clinical Question: In high school through professional baseball pitchers, how does increased contralateral trunk tilt compared with no/limited contralateral trunk tilt influence elbow varus torque? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies were included: all were labeled as “controlled” or “descriptive laboratory studies,” representing cross-sectional observational analytic design. One study compared biomechanics of professional pitchers with and without ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. Two studies measured biomechanics in college pitchers, one of which also included simulations of joint angles. The fourth study measured biomechanics of high school pitchers. All studies measured trunk tilt and its relationship to elbow varus torque, with 3 of the studies linking increased contralateral trunk tilt with increased elbow varus torque. Clinical Bottom Line: Moderate evidence indicated as contralateral trunk tilt increased, so did elbow varus torque, indicating trunk tilt may be a modifiable factor to decrease medial elbow loading during pitching. Strength of Recommendation: Majority consistent findings from the level 3 cross-sectional observational analytic designs suggest grade B evidence in support of trunk tilt as a factor in increasing elbow varus torque.

The authors are with the School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.

Brown (Cathleen.Crowell@oregonstate.edu) is corresponding author.
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