A lack of mobility at the shoulder joint may be a major risk factor for developing elbow pain.
81 pitchers were examined over the course of the study. The researchers found that for every degree of shoulder flexion that was missing, the likelihood of an elbow injury increased by 9%. Furthermore, for every degree of external rotation that was lacking, the likelihood of an elbow injury increased by 7%.
The joint-by-joint approach states that if we are lacking mobility at one joint, we will compensate by taking it from somewhere else. In this case, a lack of shoulder mobility means that more stress will shift towards the elbow, which can potentially lead to injury over time. This study highlights the importance of maintaining proper mobility in order to prevent injury.
Camp, C. L., Zajac, J. M., Pearson, D. B., Sinatro, A. M., Spiker, A. M., Werner, B. C., … & Dines, J. S. (2017). Decreased shoulder external rotation and flexion are greater predictors of injury than internal rotation deficits: analysis of 132 pitcher-seasons in professional baseball. Arthroscopy, 33(9), 1629-1636.