Background: Shoulder injuries account for up to 17% of all golf related musculoskeletal injuries. One cause may be the repetitive stresses applied to the lead shoulder during the backswing and follow-through phases, which may contribute to the frequency of these injuries. The “elite” golfer may be pre-disposed to developing a shoulder injury based upon the reported adaptations to the glenohumeral joint.
Objective: To examine and compare bilateral glenohumeral joint rotational range of motion in elite golfers using standard goniometric procedures.
Methods: Twenty-four “elite” male golfers were recruited for this study. Glenohumeral internal (IR) and external rotation (ER) passive range of motion was measured bilaterally at 90° of abduction using a standard universal goniometer. Paired t-tests were utilized to statistically compare the rotational range of motion patterns between the lead and the trailing shoulder.
Results: No statistical differences existed between each shoulder for mean IR or mean ER measures. This finding was consistent throughout different age groups. External rotation measurements were greater than IR measurements in both extremities.
Discussion and Conclusion: Unlike other sports requiring repetitive shoulder function, the “elite” golfers sampled in this pilot investigation did not demonstrate a unique passive range of motion pattern between the lead and trailing shoulders. Factors, including subjects' age, may have confounded the findings. Further studies are warranted utilizing cohorts of golfers with matching age and skill levels. Additional shoulder range of motion measures should be evaluated.
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