Biomechanical aspects of the elbow in sports

Academic Article


  • In many sports, large forces and torques are produced at the elbow that lead to fast movements and a full range of motion. In baseball pitching. varus torque is produced when the arm is in external rotation. This torque includes compression at the radiocapitellar joint and tension in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). After ball release, compressive force approaching 100% of bodyweight is produced to prevent elbow dislocation. Compared to baseball pitching, football passing produces greater elbow flexion and medial force, and less varus torque: Furthermore, elbow extension is not as rapid and arm deceleration compressive force is not as great. During the tennis serve, elbow extension is largely due to triceps contraction. During javelin throwing. the elbow extends fairly quickly, terminating well short of full extension. During underhand Softball pitching, the elbow produces compressive force and fairly rapid flexion. Elbow compressive force during pushups is equal to 45% of bodyweight. Compressive force during two-arm pushups (which are similar to falling on an arm) is 31% greater. © 1995 Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fleisig GS; Barrentine SW
  • Start Page

  • 149
  • End Page

  • 159
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 3