Throwing enhances humeral shaft cortical bone properties in pre-pubertal baseball players: a 12-month longitudinal pilot study Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:To explore throwing athletes as a prospective, within-subject controlled model for studying the response of the skeleton to exercise. METHODS:Male pre-pubertal throwing athletes (n=12; age=10.3±0.6 yrs) had distal humerus cortical volumetric bone mineral density (Ct.vBMD), cortical bone mineral content (Ct.BMC), total area (Tt.Ar), cortical area (Ct.Ar), medullary area (Me.Ar), cortical thickness (Ct.Th) and polar moment of inertia (IP) assessed within their throwing (exercised) and nonthrowing (control) arms by peripheral quantitative computed tomography at baseline and 12 months. Throwing-to-nonthrowing arm percent differences (i.e. bilateral asymmetry) were compared over time. RESULTS:Over 12 months, the throwing arm gained 4.3% (95% Cl=1.1% to 7.5%), 2.9% (95% Cl=0.3% to 5.4%), 3.9% (95% Cl=0.7% to 7.0%), and 8.2% (95% Cl=2.0% to 6.8%) more Ct.BMC, Ct.Ar, Tt.Ar, and IP than the nonthrowing arm, respectively (all p<0.05). There was no significant effect of throwing on Ct.vBMD, Ct.Th and Me.Ar (all p=0.18-0.82). CONCLUSION:Throwing induced surface-specific cortical bone adaptation at the distal humeral diaphysis that contributed to a gain in estimated strength. These longitudinal pilot data support the utility of throwing athletes as a within-subject controlled model to explore factors influencing exercise-induced bone adaptation during the critical growing years.

publication date

  • 2018