Trunk Control in the Pitcher

The 2014 Major League Baseball season is gaining notoriety as the year of the pitcher for the wrong reasons. Pitchers are injuring their ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) at any increasing rate and undergoing reconstructive Tommy John surgery. Numerous  factors have been implicated for this increased incidence, including pitching mechanics, pitch limits, and overuse. An additional component being researched is the trunk instability and hip weakness of pitchers, resulting in overuse of the shoulder and elbow.

Recently, pitching experts have stated that timing of hip and thorax segmental rotation directly impacts pitch velocity and accuracy, potentially altering the loads to the shoulder and elbow. Research has shown that the hips and torso contribute approximately 50% of the kinetic energy during the act of throwing. Therefore, proximal core control plays a major role in not only maximizing athletic performance, but also injury prevention. It is important for all the links of the chain to be in sync, so proper core stability and timing can promote optimal transfer of forces from the lower extremity into the upper extremity. Dynamic core stabilization and gluteal muscle training, along with hip mobility exercises, decrease the risk of overuse injuries to the shoulder and elbow. By incorporating lower extremity exercises and throwing mechanics into shoulder and elbow rehab, you can maximize the benefits of physical therapy.

If you are a thrower and experiencing shoulder or elbow pain, come in for a consultation. You may have underlying hip and core instability affecting your mechanics. We offer whole body movement impairment evaluations in addition to throwing analysis using the Ubersense Video Recording Application.  With an individualized exercise program and a biomechanical pitching analysis, physical therapy can help get you back in the game, and keep you there.