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Edel Fanning, Eanna Falvey, Katherine Daniels, and Ann Cools

An increased understanding of rotational strength as a potential prognostic factor for injury in contact and collision athletes may be important in planning return to sport. The aim of this study was to (1) determine the test–retest reliability of clinically relevant, angle-specific rotational and peak torque measurements in a cohort of uninjured collision and contact athletes; (2) develop a normal descriptive profile of angle-specific rotational torque measurements in the same cohort; and (3) examine the effects of direction and joint angle on shoulder rotational strength interlimb asymmetries. Twenty-three collision and contact athletes were recruited for the interday reliability substudy and 47 athletes were recruited for the remaining substudies. We used intraclass correlation coefficients with 95% confidence intervals to quantify interday reliability of all variables. We used a 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance to analyze differences in absolute interlimb asymmetries. Interday reliability for the isokinetic strength variables was good to excellent (0.78–0.90) on the dominant side and moderate to good (0.63–0.86) on the nondominant side. Maximum angle-specific torque (as well as peak torque) can be measured reliably in internally and externally rotated positions. A normal profile of clinically relevant, angle-specific shoulder rotational torque measurements for collision and contact athletes has been established which provides a reference when assessing shoulder strength in this population.

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Alya H. Bdaiwi, Tanya Anne Mackenzie, Lee Herrington, Ian Horlsey, and Ann Cools


Compromise to the acromiohumeral distance (AHD) has been reported in subjects with subacromial impingement syndrome when compared with healthy subjects. In clinical practice, patients are taped with the intention of altering scapular position and influencing the AHD. However, research to determine the effects of taping on AHD is exiguous.


To evaluate the effect of ridged taping techniques to increase posterior scapular tilt and upward scapular rotation on the AHD.


1-group pretest/posttest repeated-measures design.


Human performance laboratory.


20 asymptomatic participants (10 male and 10 female) age 27 y (SD 8.0 y).


Ridged tapping of the scapula into posterior tilt and upward scapular rotation.

Main Outcome Measure:

Ultrasound measurement of the AHD.


AHD increased significantly after rigid tape application to the scapula (P < .003) in healthy shoulders in 60° of passive arm abduction.


Taping techniques applied to the scapula had an immediate effect of increasing the AHD in healthy shoulders in 60° of passive arm abduction. Results suggest that taping for increasing posterior scapular tilt and increasing scapular upward rotation can influence the AHD and is a useful adjunct to rehabilitation in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome.

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Razie J. Alibazi, Afsun Nodehi Moghadam, Ann M. Cools, Enayatollah Bakhshi, and Alireza Aziz Ahari

Muscle fatigue is considered to be one cause of shoulder pain, and subjects with generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) are affected more by shoulder pain. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of muscle fatigue on acromiohumeral distance (AHD) and scapular dyskinesis in women with GJH. Thirty-six asymptomatic participants were assigned to either a GJH (n = 20) or control group (n = 16) using the Beighton scale. Before and after elevation fatigue trials, AHD was measured with ultrasonography at rest and when the arm was in 90° active elevation. A scapular dyskinesis test was used to visually observe alterations in scapular movement. Our results showed that in both groups, the fatigue reduced AHD in the 90° elevation position and increased the presence of scapular dyskinesis; however, no differences were found between the two groups. Although GJH has been identified as a factor for developing musculoskeletal disorders, generalized joint hypermobility did not result in changes to scapular dyskinesis or AHD, even after an elevation fatigue task. More studies are needed to evaluate the effects of muscle fatigue in subjects with GJH and a history of shoulder instability.

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Guillermo Mendez-Rebolledo, Ann M. Cools, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Elias Quiroz-Aldea, and Fernanda A.P. Habechian

Context: Knowing the possible association between the isometric strength of the shoulder rotators, scapular muscles, and the Y-balance test upper quarter (YBT-UQ) performance could help identify which indicators of shoulder stability should be considered in this field test. This study aimed to determine whether the isometric strength of the shoulder rotators and scapular muscles is associated with the YBT-UQ performance of the dominant upper limb in amateur volleyball players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: A convenience sample of 22 male and 18 female volleyball players (≥12 h of training/week) between 18 and 26 years of age. The isometric strength of the middle trapezius, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, internal, and external rotator muscles was assessed with a handheld dynamometer. Participants performed the YBT-UQ in the superolateral, medial, and inferolateral directions. The absolute isometric peak force (in Newtons) was normalized to body weight (in Newtons per kilogram) for each muscle test. For each YBT-UQ direction, the distance (in centimeters) was normalized for upper limb length (in percentage). A backward multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the associations between variables. Results: The analysis revealed that the isometric strength of the lower trapezius (β = 26.82; 95% confidence interval, 21.24–32.40) is associated with inferolateral YBT-UQ performance (adjusted R 2 = .706; P < .001). This factor explains 70% of the variability of the YBT-UQ in the inferolateral direction. Conclusions: Lower trapezius isometric strength is associated with inferolateral YBT-UQ performance of the dominant upper limb in amateur volleyball players. These findings could help in the development of more specific training programs and rehabilitation goals according to the performance of the athletes in the test.

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Amanda L. Ager, Dorien Borms, Magali Bernaert, Vicky Brusselle, Mazarine Claessens, Jean-Sébastien Roy, and Ann Cools

Context: Proprioception deficits contribute to persistent and recurring physical disability, particularly with shoulder disorders. Proprioceptive training is thus prescribed in clinical practice. It is unclear whether nonsurgical rehabilitation can optimize shoulder proprioception. Objectives: To summarize the available evidence of conservative rehabilitation (ie, nonsurgical) on proprioception among individuals with shoulder disorders. Evidence Acquisition: PubMed, Web of Science, and EBSCO were systematically searched, from inception until November 24, 2019. Selected articles were systematically assessed, and the methodological quality was established using the Dutch Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool and the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were utilized for this review. The conservative treatments were categorized as follows: (1) conventional therapy, (2) proprioceptive training, (3) elastic kinesiology tape, and (4) other passive therapies. Evidence Synthesis: Twelve articles were included, yielding 58 healthy control shoulders and 362 shoulders affected by impingement syndrome, glenohumeral dislocations, nonspecific shoulder pain, rotator cuff dysfunction, or subluxation poststroke. The level of agreement between the evaluators was excellent (84.9%), and the studies were evaluated to be of fair to excellent quality (risk of bias: 28.5%–100%). This review suggests, with moderate evidence, that proprioceptive training (upper-body wobble board or flexible foil training) can improve proprioception in the midterm. No decisive evidence exists to suggest that conventional therapy is of added value to enhance shoulder proprioception. Conflicting evidence was found for the improvement of proprioception with the application of elastic kinesiology tape, while moderate evidence suggests that passive modalities, such as microcurrent electrical stimulation and bracing, are not effective for proprioceptive rehabilitation of the shoulder. Conclusions: Proprioceptive training demonstrates the strongest evidence for the effective rehabilitation of individuals with a shoulder proprioceptive deficit. Elastic kinesiology tape does not appear to affect the sense of shoulder proprioception. This review suggests a possible specificity of training effect with shoulder proprioception.

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Michele Forgiarini Saccol, Gisele Garcia Zanca, Rafaela Oliveira Machado, Lilian Pinto Teixeira, Rose Löbell, Ann Cools, and Carlos Bolli Mota

Context: Volleyball and handball players have usually been studied collectively as “overhead athletes,” since throwing present similarities in the proximal to distal movement sequencing and upper limb joints ranges of motion. However, each sport presents specificities in the objectives when accelerating the ball and a variety of possible throwing techniques. Therefore, it is expected there may be differences in the shoulder and upper body physical performance between sports. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine if there are differences in shoulder muscle strength and upper body field performance tests between volleyball and handball athletes. Design: Cross-sectional. Methods: Ninety-nine volleyball and handball female athletes aged between 13 and 20 years were evaluated for isometric shoulder abductor and rotator strength (handheld dynamometer) and upper body field performance tests: Y Balance Test—Upper Quarter, modified Closed Kinetic Chain Upper-Extremity Stability Test, and unilateral and bilateral Seated Medicine Ball Throw. Results: Handball athletes presented greater shoulder internal rotation strength (between-group difference: 2.84; effect size 0.70), higher medial (between-group difference: 9.54; effect size 0.90), superolateral (between-group differences: 8.9; effect size 0.68), and composite scores (between-group difference 5.7; effect size 0.75) of the Y Balance Test—Upper Quarter and higher unilateral (between-group difference: 41.92; effect size 0.91) and bilateral (between-group difference: 46.11; effect size 0.83) Seated Medicine Ball Throw performance. Groups were not different for Closed Kinetic Chain Upper-Extremity Stability Test, external rotation, and abduction isometric strength. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that young female handball athletes present greater internal rotator strength and better performance in Y Balance Test—Upper Quarter and Seated Medicine Ball Throw compared to volleyball players. These differences may be related to the different demands required in the throwing movements performed in each sport and should be considered when assessing these populations.