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Am J Sports Med. 2010 Feb;38(2):369-74. doi: 10.1177/0363546509346408. Epub 2009 Nov 13.

Excessive glenohumeral horizontal abduction as occurs during the late cocking phase of the throwing motion can be critical for internal impingement.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, VA Healthcare System, Long Beach, California, and the University of California, Irvine, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of increased horizontal abduction with maximum external rotation, as occurs during the late cocking phase of throwing motion, on shoulder internal impingement.

HYPOTHESIS:

An increase in glenohumeral horizontal abduction will cause overlap of the rotator cuff insertion with respect to the glenoid and increase pressure between the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendon insertions on the greater tuberosity and the glenoid.

STUDY DESIGN:

Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS:

Eight cadaveric shoulders were tested with a custom shoulder testing system with the specimens in 60 degrees of glenohumeral abduction and maximum external rotation. The amount of internal impingement was evaluated by assessing the location of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus articular insertions on the greater tuberosity relative to the glenoid using a MicroScribe 3DLX. Pressure in the posterior-superior quadrant of the glenoid was measured using Fuji prescale film. Data were obtained with the humerus in the scapular plane and 15 degrees , 30 degrees , and 45 degrees of horizontal abduction from the scapular plane.

RESULTS:

At 30 degrees and 45 degrees of horizontal abduction, the articular margin of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons was anterior to the posterior edge of the glenoid and less than 2 mm from the glenoid rim in the lateral direction; the contact pressure was also greater than that found in the scapular plane and 15 degrees of horizontal abduction. Conclusion Horizontal abduction beyond the coronal plane increased the amount of overlap and contact pressure between the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons and glenoid.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Excessive glenohumeral horizontal abduction beyond the coronal plane may cause internal impingement, which may lead to rotator cuff tears and superior labral anterior to posterior (SLAP) lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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