Valgus Torque in Youth Baseball Pitchers: A Biomechanical Study

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The purpose of this study was to determine the biomechanical and anthropometric factors contributing to elbow valgus torque during pitching. Video data of 14 youth pitchers throwing fastballs were used to calculate shoulder and elbow kinematics and kinetics. Peak elbow valgus torque averaged 18 Nm and occurred just before maximal shoulder external rotation. The magnitude of valgus torque was most closely correlated with the thrower's weight. When subject weight and height were controlled for, maximum shoulder abduction torque and maximum shoulder internal rotation torque were most strongly associated with elbow valgus torque, accounting for 85% of its variance (P < .001). When only kinematic variables were considered, maximum shoulder external rotation accounted for 33% of the variance in valgus torque. Given that the biomechanical variables correlated with peak valgus torque are not easily modifiable, limiting the number of innings pitched is likely the best way to reduce elbow injury in youth pitchers.