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Strength Testing Could Reduce Pitching Injuries

Identifying shoulder weakness, preseason training could prevent damage during play, study finds

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Testing a baseball pitcher's shoulder strength before the season starts may predict the player's chance of an arm injury later, a new report says.

Such knowledge could help the pitcher avert the injury by changing conditioning strategy, the study's author said.

A five-year study of 144 professional baseball pitchers linked injuries to a player's strength in three shoulder movements: prone external rotation, seated external rotation and supraspinatus strength. The strength ratio of prone external rotation to prone internal rotation also appeared to predict future arm injuries.

"The shoulder and elbow are subjected to significant stresses during the pitching motion, placing them at risk for injury. By demonstrating an association between shoulder weakness and throwing-related injuries, we hope that future injuries might be prevented by focusing strength-training programs on those areas that are weakest," study author Dr. Ian Byram, an orthopedic surgery resident at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., said in a news release.

The study is to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine held in Keystone, Colo.

More information

The American Sports Medicine Institute has more about pitching-related injuries.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, July 10, 2009

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