Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

I'm a semi-pro baseball pitcher trying to break into the professional league. I notice that my pitching arm doesn't straighten out as much as the other arm. Is this something I should work on? Will it improve my pitching statistics?

Answer:

Many semi-professional and professional baseball pitchers have noticed differences in elbow motion from one side to the other. The dominant (pitching) arm usually doesn't extend or straighten as much as the nondominant arm.

Sports medicine doctors have suggested this difference occurs because of the player's age or number of innings pitched. They also think maybe arm dominance or history of surgery on the pitching arm makes a difference on elbow motion. But a recent study of 33 pitchers for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals showed no link between elbow range of motion and any of these factors.

We still don't know what causes these changes in elbow motion. But reviewing the records of the pitchers from this same study showed no negative effect of a mild loss of elbow extension on pitchers' stats.

Rick W. Wright, MD, et al. Elbow Range of Motion in Professional Baseball Players. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. February 2006. Vol. 34. No. 2. Pp. 190-193.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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