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Assessment of Subacromial Space and Its Relationship With Scapular Upward Rotation in College Baseball Players

Stephen John Thomas, Charles Buz Swanik, Thomas W. Kaminski, Jill S. Higginson, Kathleen A. Swanik, and Levon N. Nazarian


Subacromial impingement is a common injury in baseball players and has been linked to a reduction in the subacromial space. In addition, it has been suggested that decreases in scapular upward rotation will lead to decreases in the subacromial space and ultimately impingement syndrome.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between acromiohumeral distance and scapular upward rotation in healthy college baseball players.


Posttest-only study design.


Controlled laboratory setting.


24 healthy college baseball players.


Participants were measured for all dependent variables at preseason.

Main Outcome Measures:

Acromiohumeral distance at rest and 90° of abduction was measured with a diagnostic ultrasound unit. Scapular upward rotation at rest and 90° of abduction was measured with a digital inclinometer.


Dominant-arm acromiohumeral distance at rest and 90° of abduction (P = .694, P = .840) was not significantly different than in the nondominant arm. In addition, there was not a significant correlation between acromiohumeral distance and scapular upward rotation at rest and 90° of abduction for either the dominant or the nondominant arm.


These results indicate that the acromiohumeral distance is not adapting in the dominant arm in healthy throwing athletes. In addition, a relationship was not identified between acromiohumeral distance and scapular upward rotation, which was previously suggested. These results may suggest that changes that are typically seen in an injured population may be occurring due to the injury and are not preexisting. In addition, scapular upward rotation may not be the only contributing factor to acromiohumeral distance.

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Athletic Training Student Learning Style

Cynthia A. Ristori, Lindsey E. Eberman, Brady L. Tripp, and Thomas W. Kaminski

Edited by Mary Barnum

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The Relationship Between Joint Stiffness and Muscle Activity in Unstable Ankles and Copers

Alan R. Needle, Thomas W. Kaminski, Jochen Baumeister, Jill S. Higginson, William B. Farquhar, and C. Buz Swanik


Rolling sensations at the ankle are common after injury and represent failure in neural regulation of joint stiffness. However, deficits after ankle injury are variable and strategies for optimizing stiffness may differ across patients.


To determine if ankle stiffness and muscle activation differ between patients with varying history of ankle injury.


Fifty-nine individuals were stratified into healthy (CON, n = 20), functionally unstable (UNS, n = 19), and coper (COP, n = 20) groups.

Main Outcome Measures:

A 20° supination perturbation was applied to the ankle as position and torque were synchronized with activity of tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and soleus. Subjects were tested with muscles relaxed, while maintaining 30% muscle activation, and while directed to react and resist the perturbation.


No group differences existed for joint stiffness (F = 0.07, P = .993); however, the UNS group had higher soleus and less tibialis anterior activation than the CON group during passive trials (P < .05). In addition, greater early tibialis anterior activation generally predicted higher stiffness in the CON group (P ≤ .03), but greater soleus activity improved stiffness in the UNS group (P = .03).


Although previous injury does not affect the ability to stiffen the joint under laboratory conditions, strategies appear to differ. Generally, the COP has decreased muscle activation, whereas the UNS uses greater plantar-flexor activity. The results of this study suggest that clinicians should emphasize correct preparatory muscle activation to improve joint stiffness in injury-rehabilitation efforts.