Scapular positioning in overhead athletes with and without shoulder pain: a case–control study

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Abnormalities of scapular positioning are considered important risk factors for developing shoulder disorders. This study analyses the scapular positioning pattern in a group of overhead athletes with and without shoulder pain. In a multi-center blinded case–control study, 36 shoulder pain athletes (19 men, 17 women), were compared with 36 unimpaired athletes free of shoulder pain, matched for gender, age, hand dominance and body mass index. The blinded assessor performed visual observation, the measurement of the distance between the acromion and the table, inclinometry and the kinetic medial rotation test for dynamic scapular control in random order. Athletes with shoulder pain demonstrate scapular asymmetry in the sagittal plane, observed visually as anterior tilting on the painful side. Athletes with shoulder pain show a lack of scapular motor control on their painful side in contrast to their pain-free side. No scapular positioning or motor control differences were found in athletes with or without shoulder pain.

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