Biomechanics

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Throwing requires proper stability and orientation of the pelvis and scapula for efficient energy transfer during pitching. Fatigue of the pelvis and scapular musculature throughout the course of a game can impair pitching performance, and place excessive demands on the throwing arm leading to injury. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in pelvis, torso, and upper extremity pitching mechanics and muscle activations between the fastball, change-up, and curveball pitches in youth baseball pitchers following a simulated game.

METHODS:

Fourteen youth baseball pitchers with no history of injury participated. Pitching mechanics were collected using an electromagnetic tracking system. Surface electromyography data were collected on the bilateral gluteus medius and maximus; and throwing arm side latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius, upper trapezius, and serratus anterior. Participants were instructed to throw maximum effort pitches during a simulated game that provided random game situations similar to those that occur in competition. Participants were limited to 85 pitches based on age-restricted pitch counts. Data from 3 fastballs, curveballs, and change-ups thrown in the first and last innings were selected for analysis.

RESULTS:

Repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance revealed that neither pitch type nor the effect of a simulated game resulted in statistically significant changes in pitching mechanics (F(10,600)=0.55, P=0.85), or muscle activations (pelvic: F(4,195)=0.07, P=0.85; scapular: F(4,118)=0.09, P=0.52).

CONCLUSIONS:

The principle findings of this study revealed that pitching to the age-restricted pitch count limit did not result in altered pitching mechanics or muscle activations, and no differences occurred between the 3 pitches. These results support previous research that indicate the curveball pitch is no more dangerous for youth than the other pitches commonly thrown. This is supported by the pitcher’s ability to maintain a proper arm slot during all 3 pitches and indicates that they are obtaining the spin on the ball from their grip and not by altering upper extremity mechanics.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 5.

Abstract:

Controversy continues whether curveballs are stressful for young baseball pitchers. Furthermore, it is unproven whether professional baseball pitchers have fewer kinematic differences between fastballs and off-speed pitches than lower level pitchers. Kinematic and kinetic data were measured for 111 healthy baseball pitchers (26 youth, 21 high school, 20 collegiate, 26 minor league, and 18 major league level) throwing fastballs, curveballs, and change-ups in an indoor biomechanics laboratory with a high-speed, automated digitising system. Differences between pitch types and between competition levels were analysed with repeated measures ANOVA. Shoulder and elbow kinetics were greater in fastballs than in change-ups, while curveball kinetics were not different from the other two types of pitches. Kinematic angles at the instant of ball release varied between pitch types, while kinematic angles at the instant of lead foot contact varied between competition levels. There were no significant interactions between pitch type and competition level, meaning that kinetic and kinematic differences between pitch types did not vary by competition level. Like previous investigations, this study did not support the theory that curveballs are relatively more stressful for young pitchers. Although pitchers desire consistent kinematics, there were differences between pitch types, independent of competition level.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

A glenohumeral internal rotation (IR) deficit or a total rotational motion (IR plus external rotation [ER]) deficit in the throwing shoulder compared with the nonthrowing shoulder has been shown to increase the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries. After a pitching session, both IR and total rotational motion deficits have been shown to occur naturally for an extended period of time in asymptomatic pitchers, but it is unclear how to best control these deficits between pitching sessions. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to determine whether performing a short-duration stretching/calisthenics drill after pitching will result in an increase in IR, ER, total rotational motion, and elbow extension in professional baseball pitchers. It was hypothesized that these shoulder and elbow passive range of motion (PROM) measurements would all decrease after pitching but would subsequently return to pre-pitching values after the short-duration stretching/calisthenics drill.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

A convenience sample of 20 male professional baseball pitchers served as study participants. The following sequence of activities was performed for all participants: (1) a 5- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up consisting of running and light throwing, (2) elbow extension and IR and ER PROM measurements taken before pitching, (3) 40 full-effort pitches off the pitching mound, (4) 8 minutes of rest, (5) elbow extension and IR and ER PROM measurements taken after pitching, (6) a short-duration stretching/calisthenics drill (two-out drill), and (7) elbow extension and IR and ER PROM measurements taken after the two-out drill. A 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance ( P < .05) was employed to assess differences in elbow extension, IR, ER, and total rotational motion in the 3 measurement conditions (prepitching, postpitching, and postdrill). To assess intrarater and interrater reliability, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated, and the measurement error was calculated using the standard error of measurement (SEM).

RESULTS:

Significant differences were observed among the 3 conditions for ER ( P = .002), IR ( P = .027), and total rotational motion ( P < .001), but there was no significant difference in elbow extension ( P = .117). Bonferroni post hoc analyses revealed (1) significantly greater ER during prepitching and postdrill versus the postpitching condition (94° ± 7° [prepitching] and 94° ± 8° [postdrill] vs 88° ± 8°; P = .010 and .005, respectively), (2) significantly greater IR during prepitching and postdrill versus the postpitching condition (36° ± 10° [prepitching] and 35° ± 9° [postdrill] vs 30° ± 10°; P = .034 and .043, respectively), and (3) significantly greater total rotational motion during prepitching and postdrill versus the postpitching condition (129° ± 13° [prepitching] and 129° ± 13° [postdrill] vs 119° ± 13°; P = .034 and .004, respectively). There were no significant differences in ER, IR, or total rotational motion between the prepitching and postdrill conditions ( P > .999 for all). The intrarater reliability (ICC3,1) was 0.91 for ER (SEM, 1.3°) and 0.90 for IR (SEM, 1.9°), and the interrater reliability (ICC2,1) was 0.81 for ER (SEM, 3.3°) and 0.77 for IR (SEM, 4.3°).

CONCLUSION:

After a 40-pitch bullpen session, IR and ER PROM as well as total rotational motion were significantly lower than prepitching values; however, these deficits were restored back to their prepitching levels after the players performed the two-out drill, which may increase pitching performance and decrease the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries. More research is needed to test these hypotheses and assess the clinical efficacy of the two-out drill.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

The findings from the current study will assist clinicians better understand the positive effects of performing a short duration stretching/calisthenics drill on shoulder internal and external rotation range of motion between innings while pitching during a baseball game.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Many types of screws, plates, and strut grafts have been utilized for anklearthrodesisBiomechanical testing has shown that these constructs can have variable stiffness. More recently, headless compression screws have emerged as an evolving method of achieving compression in various applications but there is limited literature regarding anklearthrodesis. The aim of this study was to determine the biomechanical stability provided by a second generation fully threaded headless compression screw compared to a standard headed, partially threaded cancellous screw in a cadaveric ankle arthrodesis model.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Twenty fresh frozen human cadaver specimens were subjected to simulated ankle arthrodesis with either three standard cancellous-bone screws (InFix 7.3mm) or with three headless compression screws (Acumed Acutrak 2 7.5mm). The specimens were subjected to cyclic loading and unloading at a rate of 1Hz, compression of 525 Newtons (N) and distraction of 20N for a total of 500 cycles using an electromechanical load frame (Instron). The amount of maximum distraction was recorded as well as the amount of motion that occurred through 1, 10, 50, 100, and 500 cycles.

RESULTS:

No significant difference (p=0.412) was seen in the amount of distraction that occurred across the fusion site for either screw. The average maximum distraction after 500 cycles was 201.9μm for the Acutrak 2 screw and 235.4μm for the InFix screw. No difference was seen throughout each cycle over time for the Acutrak 2 screw (p-value=0.988) or the InFix screw (p-value=0.991).

CONCLUSION:

Both the traditional InFix type screw and the second generation Acumed Acutrak headless compression screws provide adequate fixation during ankle arthrodesisunder submaximal loads.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

There is no demonstrable difference between traditional cannulated partially threaded screws and headless compression screws studied in this model

Abstract:

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this ex vivo biomechanical study was to evaluate the tensile mechanical properties of 2 modified suturegraft constructs regarding elongation after pre-tensioning and cyclic loading as well as load to failure.

METHODS:

Thirty fresh-frozen porcine Achilles tendons were randomly divided into 2 groups of 15 specimens to assess elongation of the suturegraft construct across 2 different tendon-grasping techniques: a modified locking SpeedWhip (MLS) stitch and a modified Krackow(MK) stitch. Each tendon was pre-tensioned to 89 N for 10 minutes and then cyclically loaded to 200 N for 200 cycles. Finally, each tendon was loaded to failure.

RESULTS:

After being pre-tensioned, the MK group elongated significantly more than the MLS group (7.12 ± 0.95 mm v 6.26 ± 0.94 mm, P = .02). Elongation after cyclic loading for the MK and MLS groups was not significantly different (3.39 ± 0.95 mm and 3.21 ± 0.93 mm, respectively; P > .05). The MK group showed a significantly larger load to failure compared with the MLS group (689 ± 61 N v 604 ± 46 N, P = .000024). The mean tendon cross-sectional area was larger in the MK group (399 ± 5 mm(2)v 393 ± 8 mm(2), P = .02), but this difference did not relate to the amount of elongation or load to failure. All but 1 specimen failed by suture breakage at the square knot.

CONCLUSIONS:

The MLS and MK stitches, pre-tensioned to 89 N for 10 minutes, both effectively minimized suturegraft construct elongation after cyclic loading. Consequently, both suture patterns are recommended for soft-tissue graft fixation.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

The MLS and MK suture configurations may provide sufficient biomechanical fixation of the tendon graft in the clinical setting of soft-tissue fixation without an interference screw.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Pronesupine, and side position exercises are employed to enhance core stability.

HYPOTHESIS:

Overall core muscle activity would be greater in prone position exercises compared with supine and side position exercises.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

Eighteen men and women between 23 and 45 years of age served as subjects. Surface electrodes were positioned over the upper and lower rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, rectus femoris, latissimus dorsi, and lumbar paraspinals. Electromyography data were collected during 5 repetitions of 10 exercises, then normalized by maximum voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC). Differences in muscle activity were assessed using 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance, while t tests with a Bonferroni correction were employed to assess pairwise comparisons.

RESULTS:

Upper and lower rectus abdominis activity was generally significantly greater in the crunch, bent-knee sit-up, and prone position exercises compared with side position exercises. External oblique activity was significantly greater in the prone on ball with right hip extension, side crunch on ball, and side bridge (plank) on toes compared with the prone and side bridge (plank) on knees, the crunch, or the bent-knee sit-up positions. Internal oblique activity was significantly greater in the prone bridge (plank) on ball and prone on ball with left and right hip extension compared with the side crunch on ball and prone and side bridge (plank) on knees positions. Lumbar paraspinal activity was significantly greater in the 3 side position exercises compared with all remaining exercises. Latissimus dorsi activity was significantly greater in the prone on ball with left and right hip extension and prone bridge (plank) on ball and on toes compared with the crunch, bent-knee sit-up, and prone and side bridge (plank) on knees positions. Rectus femoris activity was significantly greater in the prone on ball with left hip extension, bent-knee sit-up, or prone bridge (plank) on toes compared with the remaining exercises.

CONCLUSION:

Prone position exercises are good alternatives to supine position exercises for recruiting core musculature. Side position exercises are better for oblique and lumbar paraspinal recruitment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Because high core muscle activity is associated with high spinal compressive loading, muscle activation patterns should be considered when prescribing trunk exercises to those in which high spinal compressive loading may be deleterious.

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether glove arm kinematics during a windmill softball pitch impact pelvic and trunk kinematics as well as pitching arm shoulder kinetics. Thirty-Nine college softball pitchers (20.0±1.4 yrs.; 174.7±6.1 cm; 82.0±13.0 kg; 10.7±2.7 yrs. of experience) threw 3 pitches to a catcher while kinematic and kinetic data were collected. Pearson product moment correlations were run, and significant correlations found with glove arm kinematics, occurring before pelvis kinematics, trunk kinematics, and shoulder kinetics, were then put through a linear regression to identify whether there was any potential cause and effect. Results revealed that glove arm elbow flexion during phase 1 significantly predicted normalized shoulder rotation moment during phase 4 (t=2.60, p=0.013). Additionally, glove arm shoulder horizontal abduction during phase 1 significantly predicted normalized shoulder moment in phase 3 (t=- 2.40, p=0.021) and pelvic angular velocity during phase 3 (t=-  3.20, p=0.003). In conclusion, an active glove arm was predictive of a more efficient kinetic chain later in the windmill pitching motion and could possibly play a role in preventing injury by lessening pitching shoulder joint loads.

Abstract:

Because pitch counts do not exist for softball, pitchers may throw between 1200 and 1500 pitches over 3-day tournaments. With this workload, a common symptom among softball pitchers is anterior shoulder pain. The purpose of this study was to examine long-head biceps tendon (LHBT) changes in youth softball pitchers following an acute bout of pitching. Nineteen softball pitchers (11.89±1.2 years; 158.23±9.71 cm; 61.59±14.76 kg) participated. Images of the LHBT were obtained prior to and immediately following a simulated game protocol. Repeated-measures MANOVA was used to determine if there was a difference in LHBT size before and after the simulated game protocol. There were significant increases in both transverse thickness (t 18=-2.76, p=0.013, 95% confidence interval=-0.050 to -0.007) and longitudinal thickness (t 18=-2.64, p=0.016, 95% confidence interval=-0.060 to -0.007) of the LHBT following an acute bout of pitching. Longitudinal and transverse thickness of the biceps tendon significantly increases following an acute bout of softball throwing. These changes may indicate an inflammation response of the biceps tendon and the biceps pulley.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

While the kinematics of the pitching arm, trunk, and pelvis have been described and studied, glove arm kinematics remain an understudied portion of the pitching motion. Baseball pitchers seek to achieve maximum ball velocity in a fashion that does not place the arm at risk of injury.

PURPOSE:

To assess the relationship between glove arm shoulder horizontal abduction and elbow flexion and pitching arm kinematics and kinetics among youth pitchers to determine whether recommendations can be made toward a safer pitching motion.

STUDY DESIGN:

Descriptive laboratory study.

METHODS:

Thirty-three right-handed youth male baseball pitchers (mean ± SD: age, 13.6 ± 2.0 years; height, 169.4 ± 14.3 cm; weight, 63.5 ± 13.0 kg; experience, 7.3 ± 3.0 years) threw 3 fastballs to a catcher while kinematic data were collected with an electromagnetic tracking system. The Spearman rank-order test was used to identify relationships between glove arm horizontal abduction and glove arm elbow flexion and various kinematics and kinetics found at maximum shoulder external rotation (MER) and ball release for the fastest fastball delivered by each participant.

RESULTS:

At MER, there were significant relationships found between a more flexed glove arm elbow and increased pitching arm elbow valgus force (rs [31] = -0.52, P = .002), increased pitching arm shoulder anterior force (rs = -0.39, P = .024), and decreased hip velocity (rs [31] = -0.45, P = .009). Additionally, there were significant relationships between greater glove arm horizontal abduction at MER and increased pitching arm humeral velocity (rs [31] = 0.52, P = .002) and increased trunk rotational velocity (rs [31] = 0.40, P = .022) at MER.

CONCLUSION:

A more extended glove arm elbow and more horizontally abducted glove arm shoulder at MER could prove to be more advantageous for performance and possibly be a safer motion for the baseball thrower.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

The orthopaedic community can dictate safer biomechanics when communicating with pitchers, trainers, and pitching coaches

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to determine how stride length, segmental sequencing of the pelvis, trunk, humerus, and forearm velocities and accelerations, and the timing of these values change as youth mature. Thirteen youth baseball pitchers participated at three consecutive time points: visit 1 (10.7±1.3 years; 151.8±10.7 cm; 45.0±9.65 kg), visit 2 (11.5±1.6 years; 155.5±11.1 cm; 50.4±10.0 kg), and visit 3 (12.4±1.7 years; 161.5±11.7 cm; 56.4±10.8 kg). Participants executed three pitches for a strike to a catcher. The maximum value of stride length and segmental speeds and accelerations was recorded. The point at which these maximum values occurred during the throw was calculated as a percentage from hand separation to maximum internal rotation of the shoulder. Repeated measures ANOVAs and Friedman Tests revealed no statistically significant differences between stride length, segmental speeds and accelerations, and their percentage of the pitch between the three visits. However, there was a significant increase in ball velocity across visits. No significant changes occurred in pitching mechanics between the ages of 10-12. The authors speculate the lack of differences can be accounted for because these ages are prior to any significant pubescent changes. Future research should consider pre- and post- pubescent age groups.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Knee injuries encountered in clinical practice can involve avulsions of the biceps femoris from the fibula and proximal tibia. Advances in tendon repair methods now allow for repairs with increased surface areas using modern suture anchor techniques. Despite descriptions of repair techniques, there are no biomechanical studies on the biceps femoris for comparison.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS:

The objective of this controlled laboratory study was to determine the failure load of the native biceps femoris distal insertion and to evaluate modern repair techniques. Our hypothesis was 2-fold: (1) Suture repairs to the tibia and fibula would perform better on tensile testing than repairs to the fibula alone, and (2) complex bridge repairs, similar to those frequently used in rotator cuff surgery, would perform better on tensile testing than simple repairs.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

A total of 40 paired, fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens were dissected, identifying the biceps femoris and its insertion on the proximal tibia and fibula. The native biceps femoris footprint was left intact in 8 specimens and tested to failure on a uniaxial materials testing machine evaluating tensile properties, while in the other 32 specimens, the biceps femoris insertion was dissected using a No. 15 scalpel blade, underwent repair, and was then tested to failure on a uniaxial materials testing machine evaluating tensile properties. Four repair constructs were evaluated, with 8 specimens allocated for each: construct 1 involved a simple repair (ie, passing suture through tissue in a running Krackow fashion and tying at the anchor site) to the fibula with 2 suture anchors, construct 2 involved a simple repair to the fibula and tibia with 3 suture anchors, construct 3 was a fibular repair with a tibial suture bridge involving the fibula and tibia and 3 suture anchors, construct 4 involved a transosseous repair through the fibula and 1 suture anchor on the tibia. Analysis of variance was used to evaluate for significance of the mean failure load and stiffness between groups.

RESULTS:

The mean (±95% CI) failure loads were the following: native biceps femoris, 1280 ± 247.0 N; simple fibular repair, 173 ± 84.6 N; simple fibular and tibial repair, 176 ± 48.1 N; fibular repair with tibial suture bridge, 191 ± 78.5 N; and transosseous repair, 327 ± 66.3 N. The mean stiffness values were the following: native, 46 ± 13.0 N/mm; simple fibular repair, 16 ± 5.1 N/mm; simple fibular and tibial repair, 14 ± 5.4 N/mm; fibular repair with tibial suture bridge, 13 ± 2.8 N/mm; and transosseous repair, 15 ± 2.5 N/mm. Interconstruct comparison of failure loads revealed no statistical difference between constructs utilizing anchors alone. The transosseous repair showed a significant difference for the failure load when compared with each anchor repair construct (P = .02, .02, and .04 for constructs 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Interconstruct comparison of stiffness revealed no statistical difference between all constructs (P > .86). None of the repair techniques re-created the failure load or stiffness of the native biceps femoris tendon (P = .02).

CONCLUSION:

In this biomechanical study, no difference was found between the mean failure loads of different biceps femoris repair constructs involving suture anchors alone and No. 2 braided polyester and ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene suture. A technique involving transosseous fibular tunnels and 2-mm suture tape illustrated a greater mean failure load than repairs relying on suture anchors for fixation.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Understanding the tensile performance of biceps femoris repair constructs aids clinicians with preoperative and intraoperative decisions. Current biceps femoris repair techniques do not approximate the native strength of the tendon. A transosseous style of repair offers the highest failure load.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether suture button fixation of the pubic symphysis is biomechanically similar to plate fixation in the treatment of partially stable pelvic ring injuries.

METHODS:

Twelve pelvis specimens were harvested from fresh frozen cadavers. Dual-x-ray-absorptiometry (DXA) scans were obtained for all specimens. The pubic symphysis of each specimen was sectioned to simulate a partially stable pelvic ring injury. Six of the pelvises were instrumented using a 6 hole, 3.5 mm low profile pelvis plate and six of the pelvises were instrumented with two suture button devices. Biomechanical testing was performed on a pneumatic testing apparatus in a manner that simulates vertical stance. Displacement measurements of the superior, middle, and inferior pubic symphysis were obtained prior to loading, after an initial 440 N load, and after 30,000 and 60,000 rounds of cyclic loading. Statistical analysis was performed using Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests, Fisher’s exact test, and Cohen’s d to calculate effect size. Significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS:

There was no difference between groups for DXA T scores (p = 0.749). Between group differences in clinical load to failure (p = 0.65) and ultimate load to failure (p = 0.52) were not statistically significant. For symphysis displacement, the change in fixation strength and displacement with progressive cyclic loading was not significant when comparing fixation types (superior: p = 0.174; middle: p = 0.382; inferior: p = 0.120).

CONCLUSION:

Suture button fixation of the pubic symphysis is biomechanically similar to plate fixation in the management of partially stable pelvic ring injuries.

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate pitching mechanics between female softball pitchers with upper extremity pain and those without upper extremity pain. Specifically, the trunk, shoulder and elbow kinematics and shoulder kinetics during the change-up softball pitch were examined. Fifty-five collegiate softball pitchers participated, divided into those with upper extremity pain (20.0±1.3 yrs.; 174.4±6.9 cm; 82.9±12.4 kg; 11.1±2.6 yrs. of experience; n=23) and those who were pain-free (19.9±1.4 yrs.; 173.8±6.9 cm; 81.4±12.5 kg; 10.0±2.5 yrs. of experience; n=32). Pitching mechanics were obtained via the trakSTAR electromagnetic tracking system (Ascension Technologies, Inc., Burlington, VT, USA). Mann-Whitney U tests revealed significant differences in shoulder horizontal abduction at foot contact (p=0.014, U=153, Z=2.450) and trunk lateral flexion at ball release (p=0.012, U=150, Z=-2.515); and between shoulder distraction force at ball release (p=0.034, U=168, Z=-2.124). The pain group illustrated greater shoulder horizontal abduction at foot contact, less trunk lateral flexion towards the throwing side at ball release, and greater shoulder distraction at ball release than the pain-free group. The differences in trunk and shoulder kinematics, and shoulder kinetics between groups allows for insight into further studies examining injury pervasiveness in softball pitching.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Fastpitch softball is a popular sport for young females. However, data are limited describing youth pitching mechanics. Normative data describing pitching mechanics in the two youngest player pitch leagues are critical to gaining an improved understanding of proper mechanics in an attempt to establish injury prevention programs.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this study was to examine pitching mechanics in Little League softball pitchers and examine the relationship of these mechanics and participant anthropometrics to ball velocity.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional.

METHODS:

Twenty-three youth softball pitchers (11.4 ± 1.5 years; 154.6 ± 10.5 cm; 51.0 ± 8.0 kg) participated. An electromagnetic tracking system was used to collect kinematic data for three fastball trials for strikes over a regulation distance to a catcher. The pitching motion was divided into three events: top of back swing, stride foot contact, and ball release.

RESULTS:

Youth who were older (r = 0.745, p < 0.001) and taller (r = 0.591, p  =  0.003) achieved greater ball velocity. Trunk kinematics revealed that greater trunk flexion throughout the three throwing events of top of back swing (r = 0.429, p  =  0.041), stride foot contact (r = 0.421, p  =  0.046), and ball release (r = 0.475, p  =  0.022) yielded greater ball velocity. Additionally, greater trunk rotation to the throwing arm side (r = 0.450, p  =  0.031) at top of back swing and greater trunk lateral flexion to the glove side at ball release (r = 0.471, p  =  0.023) resulted in greater ball velocity.

CONCLUSION:

The significant relationships found between pitching mechanics and ball velocity only occurred at the trunk, which may highlight the importance of utilizing the trunk to propel the upper extremity in dynamic movements.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Diagnosis, Level 4.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Radial tears of the meniscus represent a challenging clinical scenario because benign neglect and partial meniscectomy have both been shown to have negative biomechanical and long-term clinical consequences.

HYPOTHESIS:

Complex suture repair constructs have higher failure loads and stiffness values compared with simple constructs.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

After radial transection of human cadaveric menisci, simulated tears were repaired arthroscopically by use of 1 of 4 repair constructs: (1) 2 inside-out horizontal sutures, (2) 2 all-inside horizontal sutures, (3) an all-inside Mason-Allen construct consisting of 4 sutures, or (4) an all-inside construct consisting of a figure-of-8 suture plus 1 horizontal suture. Meniscus specimens were harvested and tested to failure on an Instron machine. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to evaluate for significance of maximal failure load and stiffness between groups.

RESULTS:

The mean maximum failure loads were 64 ± 20 N (inside-out horizontal construct), 75 ± 16 N (all-inside horizontal construct), 86 ± 19 N (Mason-Allen construct), and 113 ± 22 N (figure-of-8 plus horizontal construct). Interconstruct comparison revealed a statistically significant difference between the figure-of-8 plus horizontal construct and all 3 remaining constructs (P < .02) as well as the Mason-Allen construct when compared with the inside-out horizontal construct (P < .01). Statistical significance was not found between the all-inside horizontal construct and the Mason-Allen construct or between the all-inside horizontal construct and the inside-out horizontal construct (P = .2 and .7, respectively). Stiffness values were lower for the inside-out construct compared with the all-inside constructs (P < .05).

CONCLUSION:

Complex all-inside repair constructs had significantly higher failure loads than a conventional, simple inside-out suture repair construct for repair of radial meniscal tears. Stiffness values among the all-inside groups were greater than those for the inside-out group.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Arthroscopic techniques are presented to produce stronger radial meniscal tear repairs.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Complete meniscal root tears render the meniscus nonfunctional. Repair constructs have been presented and tested; however, prior studies have evaluated suture patterns placed ex vivo without simulating an in vivo surgical setting. This study introduces a new double-locking loop suture pattern and compares its biomechanical properties and execution time with commonly used suture patterns. All constructs were performed using an all-inside arthroscopic technique.

HYPOTHESIS:

Complex suture repair constructs have higher failure loads, stiffness, and execution times compared with simple constructs.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

Sutures were placed arthroscopically into the posterior horn root region of the medial and lateral menisci in 21 cadaveric knees. Four repair constructs were evaluated: 2 simple sutures (2SS), 1 inverted mattress suture (1MS), 1 double-locking loop suture (1DLS), and 2 double-locking loop sutures (2DLS). In total, 40 posterior meniscal roots were tested, with 10 trials for each construct. After arthroscopic placement of the root repair constructs, each meniscus was explanted and tested to failure on a uniaxial materials testing machine. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to evaluate for the significance of maximum failure loads and stiffness between groups.

RESULTS:

The mean maximum failure loads were 137 ± 49 N (2SS), 126 ± 44 N (1MS), 186 ± 43 N (1DLS), and 368 ± 76 N (2DLS). Interconstruct comparison revealed a statistical difference between 2DLS and all 3 remaining constructs (P < .01) and 1DLS when compared with 2SS and 1MS (P < .01 for both). Statistical significance was not found between 2SS and 1MS (P = .8). The mean times for repair of the 4 fixation techniques were 1.8 ± 0.9 minutes (2SS), 2.4 ± 1.9 minutes (1MS), 4.7 ± 2.0 minutes (1DLS), and 5.4 ± 0.6 minutes (2DLS).

CONCLUSION:

The double-locking loop suture repair technique had significantly higher failure loads compared with the 3 other methods tested. As the complexity of repair constructs increases, failure loads and surgical times increase.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Complex suture patterns can be placed via an all-inside arthroscopic technique delivering higher failure loads for meniscal root repair with little increase in surgical time.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Emphasis on enhancing baseball pitch velocity has become popular, especially through weighted-ball throwing. However, little is known about the physical effects or safety of these programs. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of training with weighted baseballs on pitch velocity, passive range of motion (PROM), muscle strength, elbow torque, and injury rates.

HYPOTHESIS:

A 6-week weighted ball training program would result in a change in pitching biomechanical and physical characteristics.

STUDY DESIGN:

Randomized controlled trial.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 1.

METHODS:

During the baseball offseason, 38 healthy baseball pitchers were randomized into a control group and an experimental group. Pitch velocity, shoulder and elbow PROM, shoulder strength, elbow varus torque, and shoulder internal rotation velocity were measured in both groups. The experimental group then performed a 6-week weighted ball throwing program 3 times per week using balls ranging from 2 to 32 ounces while the control group only used a 5-ounce regulation baseball. Both groups performed a strength training program. Measurements were then repeated after the 6-week period. Injuries were tracked over the 6-week training program and the subsequent baseball season. The effect of training with a weighted ball program was assessed using 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance at an a priori significance level of P < 0.05.

RESULTS:

Mean age, height, mass, and pretesting throwing velocity were 15.3 ± 1.2 years (range, 13-18 years), 1.73 ± 0.28 m, 68.3 ± 11 kg, and 30.3 ± 0.7 m/s, respectively. Pitch velocity showed a statistically significant increase (3.3%) in the experimental group ( P < 0.001). There was a statistically significant increase of 4.3° of shoulder external rotation in the experimental group. The overall injury rate was 24% in the experimental group. Four participants in the experimental group suffered elbow injuries, 2 during the training program and 2 in the season after training. No pitchers in the control group were injured at any time during the study.

CONCLUSION:

Performing a 6-week weighted ball throwing program increased pitch velocity. However, the program resulted in increased shoulder external rotation PROM and increased injury rate.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Although weighted-ball training may increase pitch velocity, caution is warranted because of the notable increase in injuries and physical changes observed in this cohort.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction is a surgery for acute and chronic dislocating patella. Several surgical techniques have been described. No biomechanical study has compared suture anchors, interference screws, and suspensory cortical fixation for MPFL reconstruction using human gracilis allograft.

METHODS:

Twelve human cadaver knees were used for the analysis of five MPFL reconstruction techniques on the femur (F) and patella (P): suspensory cortical (SC), interference screw (IS) and suture anchor (SA) fixation (SC-F/SC-P, SC-F/IS-P, SC-F/SA-P, IS-F/SC-P, IS-F/IS-P). Each method was examined six times, each using a new human gracilis allograft. The force necessary for 50% patellar displacement and 100% patellar displacement were recorded for each method. Additionally, we examined the peak force to fixation failure for all methods. Patella dislocation or loss of fixation was considered failure.

RESULTS:

SC-F/SC-P, IS-F/SC-P, and SC-F/IS-P required force to failure greater than that of the native MPFL. The SC-F/IS-P required the largest force to failure. The SC-F/SA-P fixation technique required significantly less force to failure (P<0.05) than the native MPFL and significantly less force to failure (P<0.05) than all four other fixation techniques. All methods of fixation employing an interference screw failed secondary to graft pullout at the interference screw-bone interface. Methods employing suture anchors and two suspensory cortical fixations failed at the graft-suture anastomosis.

CONCLUSION:

SC-F/SC-P, IS-F/SC-P, and SC-F/IS-P fixations were found to be stronger than the native MPFL, with the strongest being SC-F/IS-P.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Longitudinal meniscus tears are commonly encountered in clinical practice. Meniscus repair devices have been previously tested and presented; however, prior studies have not evaluated repair construct designs head to head. This study compared a new-generation meniscus repair device, SpeedCinch, with a similar established device, Fast-Fix 360, and a parallel repair construct to a crossed construct. Both devices utilize self-adjusting No. 2-0 ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and 2 polyether ether ketone (PEEK) anchors.

HYPOTHESIS:

Crossed suture repair constructs have higher failure loads and stiffness compared with simple parallel constructs. The newer repair device would exhibit similar performance to an established device.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

Sutures were placed in an open fashion into the body and posterior horn regions of the medial and lateral menisci in 16 cadaveric knees. Evaluation of 2 repair devices and 2 repair constructs created 4 groups: 2 parallel vertical sutures created with the Fast-Fix 360 (2PFF), 2 crossed vertical sutures created with the Fast-Fix 360 (2XFF), 2 parallel vertical sutures created with the SpeedCinch (2PSC), and 2 crossed vertical sutures created with the SpeedCinch (2XSC). After open placement of the repair construct, each meniscus was explanted and tested to failure on a uniaxial material testing machine. All data were checked for normality of distribution, and 1-way analysis of variance by ranks was chosen to evaluate for statistical significance of maximum failure load and stiffness between groups. Statistical significance was defined as P < .05.

RESULTS:

The mean maximum failure loads ± 95% CI (range) were 89.6 ± 16.3 N (125.7-47.8 N) (2PFF), 72.1 ± 11.7 N (103.4-47.6 N) (2XFF), 71.9 ± 15.5 N (109.4-41.3 N) (2PSC), and 79.5 ± 25.4 N (119.1-30.9 N) (2XSC). Interconstruct comparison revealed no statistical difference between all 4 constructs regarding maximum failure loads (P = .49). Stiffness values were also similar, with no statistical difference on comparison (P = .28).

CONCLUSION:

Both devices in the current study had similar failure load and stiffness when 2 vertical or 2 crossed sutures were tested in cadaveric human menisci.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Simple parallel vertical sutures perform similarly to crossed suture patterns at the time of implantation.

Abstract:

Locomotion over ballast surfaces provides a unique situation for investigating the biomechanics of gait. Although much research has focused on level and sloped walking on a smooth, firm surface in order to understand the common kinematic and kinetic variables associated with human locomotion, the literature currently provides few if any discussions regarding the dynamics of locomotion on surfaces that are either rocky or uneven. The purpose of this study was to investigate a method for using force plates to measure the ground reaction forces (GRFs) during gait on ballast. Ballast is a construction aggregate of unsymmetrical rock used in industry for the purpose of forming track bed on which railway ties are laid or in yards where railroad cars are stored. It is used to facilitate the drainage of water and to create even running surfaces. To construct the experimental ballast surfaces, 31.75 mm (1 1/4 in.) marble ballast at depths of approximately 63.5 mm (2.5 in.) or 101.6 mm (4 in.) were spread over a carpeted vinyl tile walkway specially designed for gait studies. GRF magnitudes and time histories from a force plate were collected under normal smooth surface and under both ballast surface conditions for five subjects. GRF magnitudes and time histories during smooth surface walking were similar to GRF magnitudes and time histories from the two ballast surface conditions. The data presented here demonstrate the feasibility of using a force plate system to expand the scope of biomechanical analyses of locomotion on ballast surfaces.

Abstract:

Verbal instruction and encouragement are common in exercise testing; however, the verbiage used during exercise testing is rarely controlled despite the likelihood it may affect the participant’s performance. Although variations in verbal cuing based on rate and intensity have been examined during isometric contractions, they have not been examined during isokinetic testing, which is a standardized assessment of muscle performance in athletic, rehabilitation, and research settings. This study examined the effects of 4 variations in verbal encouragement during isokinetic knee flexion and extension exercises. Twenty-three healthy participants (aged 19-34 years) completed 4 isokinetic testing sessions on a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer. Each session consisted of 5, 10, and 15 repetitions at 1.05 rad·s (60°·s), 3.14 rad·s (180°·s), and 5.24 rad·s (300°·s), respectively, separated by 5-minute passive recoveries. The variations in verbal encouragement randomized during each testing session used the following statements: (a) “as fast as you can” (FAST); (b) “as hard as you can” (HARD); (c) “as hard and as fast as you can” (BOTH); and (d) no verbal encouragement (NO CUE). Repeated-measures analyses of variance with a Bonferroni post hoc analysis revealed that the FAST and BOTH verbal cues produced greater work, peak torque, and power at all 3 speeds of isokinetic testing. These findings indicate the verbal cues “as fast as you can” and “as hard and as fast as you can” should be used to maximize performance during isokinetic testing