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Original articles  

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2001 September;41(3):403-10

language: English

Mobility impairment, muscle imbalance, muscle weakness, scapular asymmetry and shoulder injury in elite volleyball athletes

Wang H.-K., Cochrane T. *

From the Department of Sports Science-Balls Taipei Physical Education College, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
* Sport, Health and Exercise, University of Staffordshire Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom


Background. The aim of ­this ­study was to eval­u­ate the rela­tion­ship ­between shoul­der mobil­ity, rota­tor ­muscles’ ­strength and scap­u­lar sym­me­try, and shoul­der inju­ries and/or ­pain in ­elite vol­ley­ball ath­letes.
Methods. An iso­ki­net­ic shoul­der mus­cle ­strength ­test, ­which was per­formed at ­speeds of 60/sec and 180/sec, and shoul­der mobil­ity and scap­u­la lat­er­al ­slide ­tests ­were con­duct­ed bilat­er­al­ly on 16 sub­jects, who rep­re­sent­ed the England ­elite vol­ley­ball ­players. The sub­jects ­also pros­pec­tive­ly com­plet­ed month­ly ques­tion­naires dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion sea­son to ­report on ­their shoul­der con­di­tion.
Results. The ­results ­showed ­that the ­active ­range of shoul­der inter­nal rota­tion and con­cen­tric exter­nal ­rotators’ ­strength in the dom­i­nant arm ­were sig­nif­i­cant­ly ­less, ­than in the non-dom­i­nant ­arms, but the inter­nal rota­tors ­were sig­nif­i­cant­ly strong­er in ­both con­cen­tric and eccen­tric ­tests at ­both test­ing ­speeds. Seven of 16 sub­jects indi­cat­ed ­overt shoul­der inju­ry or ­pain dur­ing ­their train­ing sea­son, ­nine sub­jects had shoul­der mobil­ity impair­ment, sev­en had mus­cle imbal­ance, 13 had rel­a­tive mus­cle weak­ness and ­five had scap­u­lar asym­me­try. The asso­ci­a­tion ­between shoul­der mus­cle ­strength imbal­ance (eccen­tric exter­nal < con­cen­tric inter­nal) of rota­tors in the dom­i­nant arm and shoul­der inju­ries was sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant (Fisher’s ­exact ­test, p<0.05).
Conclusions. We con­clude ­that rota­tor mus­cle ­strength imbal­ance may ­play an impor­tant ­role in shoul­der inju­ries in ­high-lev­el vol­ley­ball ­players.

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