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Sports Med Arthrosc. 2014 Jun;22(2):72-9. doi: 10.1097/JSA.0000000000000019.

The biomechanics of throwing: simplified and cogent.

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*Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI †Leon Root, M.D. Motion Analysis Laboratory ‡Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.


The majority of shoulder injuries occur due to repetitive overhead movements, with baseball pitching being the most common mechanism for overuse injury. Before studying the treatment of these shoulder injuries, it is paramount that the health professional have an understanding of the etiology of and the underlying mechanisms for shoulder pathology. The act of overhead throwing is an eloquent full-body motion that requires tremendous coordination from the time of force generation to follow-through. The shoulder complex is a crucial component of the upper body kinetic chain as it transmits force created in the lower body to the arm and hand to produce velocity and accuracy with ball release. The focus of this article is on the biomechanics of the throwing motion, with emphasis on the kinematics of the shoulder. The established phases of the throwing motion will be reviewed in a stepwise manner and the contributions of osseous and soft-tissue structures to the successful completion of each phase will be discussed.

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