Baseball Players with an Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tear Display Increased Nondominant Arm Humeral Torsion Compared with Healthy Baseball Players

Casey J. Meyer, J. Craig Garrison*, John E. Conway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Previous work has suggested that an increase in the amount of developmentally acquired, dominant arm humeral retrotorsion (D HRT) in the thrower's shoulder may be a potentially protective mechanism. Although the relationship between HRT and shoulder injuries has been reported, the relationship between HRT and ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears in baseball players is not known. Purpose: To determine whether D HRT and nondominant arm HRT (ND HRT) measurements in baseball players with a UCL tear differ statistically from a matched healthy cohort. Study Design: Case-control study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: D HRT and ND HRT were measured in 112 male competitive high school and collegiate baseball players seen over an 18-month period from 2013 to 2015. A total of 56 participants with a clinical and magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed diagnosis of a throwing-arm UCL tear (UCLInj group) were compared with 56 healthy baseball players with no history of an elbow injury who were matched for age, experience, and position (NUCLInj group). The mean ages in the UCLInj and NUCLInj groups were 17.9 ± 2.2 and 17.6 ± 2.8 years, respectively. Using a previously validated ultrasound method, D HRT and ND HRT were measured in the supine position, and the HRT side-to-side difference (D HRT - ND HRT) was calculated. A 1-way multivariate analysis of variance was used to determine the mean statistical differences between groups (P <.05). Results: Baseball players with a UCL tear displayed significantly more humeral torsion (ie, less retrotorsion) in their nondominant arm compared with healthy baseball players (UCLInj = 33.27° ± 10.27°, NUCLInj = 27.82° ± 10.88°; P =.007). Baseball players with a UCL tear did not display any differences in D HRT compared with healthy baseball players (UCLInj = 18.67° ± 9.41°, NUCLInj = 17.09° ± 9.92°; P =.391). Significant side-to-side differences in HRT existed between groups (UCLInj = -14.60° ± 6.72°, NUCLInj = -10.72° ± 6.88°; P =.003). Conclusion: There was a significant increase in mean nondominant arm humeral torsion (ie, less retrotorsion) in the UCL tear group, but there was no significant difference in the mean D HRT between the injured and uninjured groups. A greater HRT side-to-side difference was displayed in the UCL tear group. The extent to which a thrower has developmentally acquired both D HRT and ND HRT may affect elbow UCL tear risk. Furthermore, it is possible that the extent of genetically predisposed ND HRT may influence the throwing-related increase in D HRT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • baseball
  • humeral retrotorsion
  • ulnar collateral ligament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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