Author(s): Downar JM, Sauers EL
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Abstract Context: Professional baseball players must achieve a delicate balance between shoulder mobility and stability to attain optimal sports performance. The sport-specific demands of repetitive overhead throwing may result in an altered mobility-stability relationship.Objective: To evaluate clinical measures of shoulder mobility in professional baseball players in order to examine differences between the throwing and the nonthrowing shoulders and to describe chronic adaptations to throwing.Design: Descriptive.Setting: The athletic training room at Maryvale Baseball Park, Phoenix, AZ.Patients or Other Participants: Twenty-seven professional baseball players (20 pitchers, 7 position players; age = 20 +/- 1.6 years, height = 190.5 +/- 4.8 cm, mass = 91.6 +/- 9.6 kg) with no previous history of shoulder or elbow injury.Main Outcome Measure(s): We recorded scapular upward rotation at 4 levels of humeral elevation in the scapular plane (rest, 60 degrees , 90 degrees , 120 degrees ); posterior shoulder tightness; and passive, isolated glenohumeral joint internal and external range of motion.Results: Scapular upward rotation was significantly greater in the throwing shoulder (14.2 +/- 6.5 degrees ) than in the nonthrowing shoulder (10.6 +/- 6.1 degrees ) at 90 degrees of humeral elevation (P = .04). We observed no statistically significant difference in posterior shoulder tightness between the throwing (30.2 +/- 4.6 cm) and the nonthrowing (28.0 +/- 4.8 cm) shoulder (P = .09). In addition, the throwing shoulder exhibited a statistically significant decrease in isolated glenohumeral internal rotation (56.6 +/- 12.5 degrees ) compared with the nonthrowing shoulder (68.6 +/- 12.6 degrees ) (P = .001), with a concomitant increase in isolated glenohumeral external rotation (throwing = 108.9 +/- 9.0 degrees , nonthrowing = 101.9 +/- 5.9 degrees , P = .0014). An analysis of the total arc of motion (internal rotation + external rotation) revealed no statistically significant difference between sides (P = .15).Conclusions: The throwing shoulder exhibited significant differences in scapular and glenohumeral mobility compared with the nonthrowing shoulder. Further research is necessary to determine the relation of these adaptive changes, if any, to shoulder injury and disability.
This article was published in J Athl Train
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies