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Clin J Sport Med. 2009 Sep;19(5):366-71. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181b544f6.

Influence of humeral torsion on interpretation of posterior shoulder tightness measures in overhead athletes.

Author information

1
Sports Medicine Laboratory and Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-8700, USA. joemyers@email.unc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To measure the influence of humeral torsion on interpretation of clinical indicators of posterior shoulder tightness in overhead athletes.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional control group comparison.

SETTING:

A university-based sports medicine research laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-nine healthy intercollegiate baseball players and 25 college-aged control individuals with no history of participation in overhead athletics were enrolled.

INTERVENTION:

In all participants, bilateral humeral rotation and humeral horizontal adduction variables were measured with a digital inclinometry. Bilateral humeral torsion was measured with ultrasonography.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Group and limb comparisons were made for clinical indicators of posterior shoulder tightness (humeral rotation and horizontal adduction variables) and humeral torsion variables. The relationship between humeral torsion and clinical indicators of posterior shoulder tightness were established.

RESULTS:

The dominant limb of the baseball players demonstrated greater humeral torsion, and less internal rotation and total rotation range of motion, compared with control participants and the nondominant limb in both groups. Once corrected for torsion, no group or limb differences in internal rotation were present. Statistically significant relationships existed between the amount of humeral torsion and measures of posterior shoulder tightness.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although limb differences in clinical indicators of posterior tightness exist in healthy overhead athletes, these measures appear to be influenced by humeral torsion rather than soft tissue tightness. Once torsion is accounted for, the limb differences observed clinically were minimal in healthy overhead athletes. When possible, accounting for humeral torsion when interpreting clinical measures of posterior shoulder tightness may aid in treatment decisions.

PMID:
19741307
DOI:
10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181b544f6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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