Weak Lower Extremities May Increase Risk for Elbow Injury
Can poor foot arch posture make you more susceptible to an elbow injury? According to a new study, “Regional Interdependence and the Role of the Lower Body in Elbow Injury in Baseball Players: A Systematic Review,” published April 16, 2020 online at The American Journal of Sports Medicine, yes it is possible.
This is important because elbow injuries are prevalent among baseball players, especially pitchers. According to the American Journal of Roentgenology (“Elbow Injuries in Adult Overhead Athletes”), 265 of injuries suffered by professional pitchers involve the elbow.
Researchers involved in this study found that weak lower extremities may increase the risk for elbow pain and injury in baseball players. The reason they say is the important role the lower extremities play in the kinetic chain of the baseball throwing motion.
The kinetic chain refers to how the different parts of the body work together to perform a movement. The kinetic chain for throwing involves the legs, hip, trunk, upper arm, forearm and hand.
In their systematic review of current literature on the association of trunk and lower extremity deficits with elbow pain or injury in baseball players, the researchers found specific hip range motion, lower extremity injury or pain, balance and foot arch posture were important risk factors for elbow pain and injury. Correlations were also found with lower extremity injury and noncompliance with primary prevention programs.
The review included 14 studies, one of which also investigated other overhead throwing athletes not just baseball players.
The researchers wrote, “Specific lower extremity deficits were found to be independent risk factors for elbow pain and injury in throwing athletes at certain levels of play. Additionally, prevention programs designed to correct deficits in identified risk factors were effective in reducing the incidence of elbow injury in youth athletes.”
They added, “These results highlight the potential of screening and subsequent intervention to reduce the incidence of elbow injury in certain subsets of baseball players.”