We examined radiographs of the elbows of the pitching arms of 79 professional baseball pitchers (mean age, 25.1 years; mean duration of professional career, 4.7 years) and noted the frequency and size of spurs, bone fragments, and intra-articular loose bodies according to site. The influence of duration of professional baseball career on these osteoarthritic changes was also investigated. The olecranon tip was the most frequent site of spurs (62/79; 78.5%), and fragmentation of the spur was detected in 17 joints. The frequency of spurs was also high at the medial margin of the olecranon, the tip of the coronoid process, the medial margin of the sigmoid notch, the medial margin of the trochlea, and the olecranon fossa. In 38 subjects, spurs were observed at the distal portion of the radial notch of the ulna. However, few pitchers had osteoarthritic changes in the humeral capitellum or radial head. Intra-articular loose bodies were detected in 4 of 79 joints (5.1%), and bone fragments were present below the medial humeral epicondyle in 25 of 79 joints (31.6%). Osteoarthritic changes in the elbow joint appeared to be attributable mainly to traction stress and impingement associated with extension and valgus strain. Significant osteoarthritic changes were often found in professional pitchers whose careers exceeded 5 years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine