If you ever tried to throw a curveball during a game, you know that it is physically easier to throw a fastball rather than a curveball. Concerns about possible injuries from excessively throwing a curveball always lurk in a pitcher’s mind as the wrist and elbow snap downwards each and every time the pitch is thrown. Has this study proven that a curveball is as harmless to a players elbow and shoulder as a fastball?
A biomechanical comparison of forces generated in the curveball, fastball, and change-up pitches has been undertaken by S. Dun et al (Am J Sports Medicine. 2008;36:686-692) to determine the risks of curveball pitches to youthful elbows. There has been a belief that the curveball pitch is harmful, especially to the immature ulnar collateral ligament, more so than, for example, the fastball.
The authors concluded that the curveball is not potentially more harmful to the young elbow than the fastball and that the number of pitches thrown carries a stronger risk than the nature of the pitch.