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Ulnar nerve conduction velocity in injured baseball pitchers

      Abstract

      Wei S-H, Jong Y-J, Chang Y-J. Ulnar nerve conduction velocity in injured baseball pitchers.

      Objective

      To compare the ulnar nerve conduction velocity (NCV) of baseball pitchers without elbow injury to baseball pitchers with elbow injury and to persons who do not play baseball.

      Design

      Cross-sectional.

      Setting

      Hospital rehabilitation department.

      Participants

      Eight college baseball pitchers without elbow injury, 8 age-matched controls who did not play baseball, and 8 college baseball pitchers with a history of elbow injury with tenderness over the cubital tunnel area.

      Intervention

      Supramaximal electric stimulation was applied superficially to the ulnar nerve at the wrist, below the elbow, and above the elbow of both the dominant and nondominant arms of all subjects. M waves were recorded from the abductor digiti minimi muscles.

      Main outcome measures

      The ulnar NCV was calculated separately for the across-elbow and below-elbow segments. The ulnar NCVs of both arms of the 3 groups were compared by using a 2-way (arm by group) analysis of variance, with a statistical significance level of P less than .05.

      Results

      The ulnar NCVs were 64.40±7.34m/s, 54.97±8.67m/s, and 59.18±4.10m/s for the pitchers without injury, pitchers with injury, and the subjects who were not pitchers, respectively. The pitchers without injury were significantly faster than the other 2 groups. For pitchers without injury, the ulnar NCVs of the dominant arm were significantly faster than those of the nondominant arm (56.26±2.63m/s). No significant difference was found between the dominant and nondominant arms for the group of injured pitchers and for the group of subjects who were not pitchers.

      Conclusions

      The ulnar NCVs of the injured pitchers did not appear to be abnormal, but were suboptimal in comparison with the noninjured pitchers. The above-normal NCVs observed in the noninjured pitchers may be the result of an adaptation to trauma associated with ball throwing.

      Key words

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