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Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jan;35(1):75-82. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1343409. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Does scapular positioning predict shoulder pain in recreational overhead athletes?

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physio-therapy, University Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.
Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent -University, Gent, Belgium.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Kinetic Control, Kinetic Control Int., London, Belgium.
Health Care Sciences, Artesis University College, -Antwerp, Belgium.
Human Physiology & Sports Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.


The objective of this prospective study is to investigate possible scapular related risk factors for developing shoulder pain. Therefore, a 2-year follow-up study in a general community sports centre setting was conducted. A sample of convenience of 113 recreational overhead athletes (59 women and 54 men) with a mean age of 34 (17-64; SD 12) years were recruited. At baseline, visual observation for scapular dyskinesis, measured scapular protraction, upward scapular rotation and dynamic scapular control were evaluated. 22% (n=25) of all athletes developed shoulder pain during the 24 months following baseline assessment. The Mean Shoulder Disability Questionnaire (SDQ) score for the painful shoulders was 34.8 (6.3-62.5; SD 17.4). None of the scapular characteristics predicted the development of shoulder pain. However, the athletes that developed shoulder pain demonstrated significantly less upward scapular rotation at 45° (p=0.010) and 90° (p=0.016) of shoulder abduction in the frontal plane at baseline in comparison to the athletes that remained pain-free. In conclusion, although these scapular characteristics are not of predictive value for the development of shoulder pain, this study increases our understanding of the importance of a scapular upward rotation assessment among recreational overhead athletes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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