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Profiling Physical Characteristics of the Swimmer's Shoulder: Comparison to Baseball Pitchers and Non-overhead Athletes

Oyama, Sakiko (2006) Profiling Physical Characteristics of the Swimmer's Shoulder: Comparison to Baseball Pitchers and Non-overhead Athletes. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: Despite being classified together as "overhead athletes," the shoulders of swimmers and baseball pitchers were expected to differ in physical characteristics due to the distinctive demands placed upon their shoulders. The purpose of this study was to compare shoulder characteristics between male swimmers, pitchers, and non-overhead athletes (controls). It was hypothesized that swimmers' bilateral shoulders and pitchers' dominant shoulders would present adaptive changes from participation in their respective sport.Methods: Glenohumeral range of motion (ROM), posterior shoulder tightness (PST), scapular kinematics, forward shoulder posture (FSP), and shoulder strength were compared between 15 male intercollegiate swimmers, 15 intercollegiate pitchers, and 15 controls. All subjects were free of shoulder pain. ROM and PST were measured using standard goniometer/carpenters square, and FSP was assessed using a double-square device. Strength was assessed using an isokinetic dynamometer, and scapular kinematics were assessed using an electromagnetic tracking device. Results: Pitchers dominant shoulder exhibited greater external rotation ROM, compared to their non-dominant shoulder (p= 0.049) and the control's dominant shoulder (p= 0.049). No between-group differences in internal rotation ROM and total ROM were found. Glenohumeral internal rotation deficit was greater in pitchers than in swimmers (p< 0.001) and controls (p< 0.001). External rotation gain was also greater in pitchers compared to swimmers (p=0.025). Swimmers (p= 0.002~0.004) and pitchers (p= 0.015~0.047) exhibited greater bilateral flexion ROM than controls. There were no significant between-group differences in abduction and extension ROM. PST was greater in pitchers compared to controls in supine method. No between-group or between-limb differences were found in strength variables. No between-group differences in scapular kinematic variables were found. Dominant shoulders were positioned anteriorly compared to the non-dominant shoulder (p= 0.012). Conclusions: The results of the study demonstrated differences in shoulder characteristics among swimmers, pitchers, and controls. These differences may be due to the unique demands of each sport. The ROM characteristics (GIRD, ERG, and PST) were observed only in pitchers due to their dominant use of a unilateral limb. Between-group difference in strength, scapular kinematics, and FSP were not observed in this study. Further research and advancement in assessment techniques may reveal differences in these variables.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Oyama, Sakikosao9@pitt.eduSAO9
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMyers, Joseph
Committee MemberWassinger, Craig Andrewcaw2@pitt.eduCAW2
Committee MemberConley, Kevin Mkconley@pitt.eduKCONLEY
Date: 8 September 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 August 2006
Approval Date: 8 September 2006
Submission Date: 23 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: physical characteristics; shoulder; swimming
Other ID:, etd-08232006-082541
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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