Shoulder injuries are sometimes hard to prevent, especially for those in professional sports such as baseball pitchers. Common methods of analyzing shoulder motion make use of cameras and observations by the naked eye. However, a team from Italy and U.S. recently published a study in Musculoskeletal Surgery showing a new method to better identify those who are at risk for shoulder injuries. The team made use of the Xbus Kit (Xsens Technologies BV, the Netherlands), a portable tracking system with sensors placed on the scapula, humerus, forearm and sternum.
During a throwing movement, the humerus and the scapula move in harmony, a movement called the scapulohumeral rhythm. Fatigue can disturb these harmonious movements, leading to shoulder injuries. By gathering information from 3-D gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers in a group of baseball pitchers, the team showed differences in the scapulohumeral rhythm between the pitchers. The measurements were done before pitching, during pitching and a day after the pitching session. The pitchers, whose scapulo-humeral rhythm was different between the sessions, had a higher risk of shoulder injuries.
The best way to prevent shoulder injuries are physiotherapy and muscle-strengthening exercises. Now, since the results of this small group have been evaluated, the next goal is to test the tracking system on Little League pitchers. After all, it is best to start preventive actions at the youngest possible age.
News release from Loyola University Medical Center: Shoulder Injuries in Baseball Pitchers Could be Prevented with 3-D Motion Detection System
Article in Muscoskeletal Surgery: Motion analysis assessment of alterations in the scapulo-humeral rhythm after throwing in baseball pitchers
Product page: Xbus Kit…