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Original Research

Thoracolumbar Range of Motion in Baseball Pitchers and Position Players.

Authors: Laudner K, Lynall R, Williams JG, Wong R, Onuki T, Meister K

Optimal baseball throwing mechanics require a significant contribution of thoracolumbar motion, particularly in the sagittal and transverse planes.   This motion is important for the proper transmission of forces from the lower to upper extremity, thereby minimizing a throwing athlete's risk of injury and maximizing athletic performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to define the active-assisted thoracolumbar ROM of both baseball pitchers and position players and to compare these motions both within and between groups. The authors concluded that pitchers have a greater amount of rotation ROM towards the non-throwing arm side as compared to position players. In addition, pitchers also have a greater amount of rotation ROM to the non-throwing arm side as compared to their throwing side. Because pitchers often present with posterior shoulder tightness and subsequent altered shoulder horizontal adduction and internal rotation ROM, the increase in non-throwing side rotation ROM may occur in response to these adaptations. More specifically, this increase in non-throwing side trunk rotation ROM may allow such athletes to bring the arm across the body during the follow-through phase of the throwing motion despite posterior shoulder tightness. However, future research is necessary to investigate this relationship. Based on these results, clinicians should consider these thoracolumbar ROM adaptations in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of baseball players.  

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