October 12, 2015
1 min read

Stresses on elbow during pitching may alter multiple structures

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In a pre- and post-season ultrasound evaluation of high school pitchers’ elbows, adaptive changes occurred to multiple structures about the elbow from stresses placed on the elbow during one season of pitching, based on results of a recently published study.

After a 2-month period of relative arm rest, researchers evaluated 22 high school pitchers through results of preseason physical exams, dynamic ultrasound imaging of their throwing elbow and QuickDASH scores. Within 1 week of their last game, the patients were re-evaluated.

Robert A. Keller


Results showed significant increases in ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) thickness, ulnar nerve cross-sectional area, UCL substance heterogeneity and QuickDASH scores from pre-season to post-season. Researchers also identified a nonsignificant increase in loaded ulnohumeral joint space. Although no loose bodies were found on pre-season exams, they identified three loose bodies at the post-season evaluation.

According to the results, there was an association between increases in UCL thickness and the number of bullpen sessions per week, as well as an association between increases in ulnar nerve cross-sectional area and the number of pitches, innings pitched and games pitched. – by Casey Tingle

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.