Elbow biomechanics during sports: 21st Century research

Academic Article


  • Injuries to the elbow joint are becoming more and more prominent in today's sporting society. This is largely because of the biomechanical demands during popular sports such as baseball, softball, and tennis; wherein the majority of elbow injuries occur. Implications for injuries in these sports range from overuse to incorrect mechanics, which cause increased loads at the elbow joint. This can be seen in the overhead throwing motion where a large varus torque leads to tensile injuries in the medial elbow and compressive injuries in the lateral elbow. The tennis serve produces large varus torque like in baseball pitching, but significantly less elbow extension velocity and elbow flexion torque. In cricket, elbow biomechanics play a very important role, as the rules prohibit elbow flexion during the arm acceleration of bowling. Windmill softball pitchers were once thought to not be at high risk for injury because of their style of throw. However, studies of windmill pitching reveal rapid kinematics and high kinetic loads that are leading to increased amounts of injuries. To improve on surgical treatment, physical therapy, and even prevention of elbow injuries, one must have a good understanding of the biomechanics of the elbow during these activities. This article presents recent advances in understanding elbow biomechanics during sports, based on studies published since the year 2000. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fleisig GS; Loftice J; Andrews JR
  • Start Page

  • 228
  • End Page

  • 238
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 4