The World of a Phillies Doctor: Baseball, the Body & The Kinetic Chain Theory

Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. April 24th, 2013

 Medical advances in the treatment of athletes aren’t confined to injections, new diagnostic tools and surgical techniques.

In some cases advancement is found working from the ground up.

“Overhead throwing athletes tend to focus on their upper body and arms when injured when in fact it all really starts from ground up,” says Ciccotti. “Our sports medicine team believes in the “kinetic chain theory” of sport. The theory holds that any motion starts with your feet on the ground. When you throw, energy is generated from your feet, up through the hips and core of the body, and into the upper extremity. When a throwing injury occurs we don’t look at solely the elbow or shoulder, but the whole athlete. It could be that the athlete’s feet are too close together or they take a bad first step."

“Think of it like the old children’s song, the foot-bone’s-connected-to-the-leg-bone, the-leg-bone’s-connected-to-the-thigh-bone… That is how we look at it. The motion of throwing has all these moving parts, each as important as the next. If there is a weak link in this chain it can cause injury. It isn’t all just the elbow or shoulder by any means. Understanding this is essential in treating any overhead or throwing athlete.”

Dr. Ciccotti again checks his watch. It is almost time to head back downstairs. The game is getting late. At least the home team has chopped the Red Sox lead in half, it is 6-3.

As he looks back up, a ball is chopped towards Chase Utley at second base. In one electric motion he stabs the ball backhanded, pivots, and relays a strike to a charging Jimmy Rollins at second, who then relays the ball to first for a double play. It’s the kinetic chain theory at work right there on the field.

“Wow,” whispers Ciccotti. “He is really amazing out there. He’s looked really solid all spring,” he comments about one of his more famous big league patients.

Other game highlights include the Phillies former centerfielder, the aforementioned Shane Victorino, robbing Ryan Howard of extra bases with a circus-like catch against the wall as he so often did when he was with the Phillies. Not to be outdone, the Phillies current centerfielder, Ben Revere countered with a spectacular diving catch, one that left him parallel to the ground, to take away extra bases in the top of the 7th.

In the middle of the 7th inning, Dr. Ciccotti stands up with the rest of the stadium for the 7th inning stretch, but he doesn’t sit back down with everyone else. He heads up the stairs then back down to the training room again. As the game winds down Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel routinely starts subbing guys in and out. Dr. Ciccotti will be standing by in case any of them require treatment.

But there are plenty of Phils fireworks left in this game.

Kinetic Chain Theory | Kinetic Chain Theories

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