Kinetic Chain Abnormalities in the Athletic Shoulder

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Abstract

Overhead activities require the shoulder to be exposed to and sustain repetitive loads. The segmental activation of the body’s links, known as the kinetic chain, allows this to occur effectively. Proper muscle activation is achieved through generation of energy from the central segment or core, which then transfers the energy to the terminal links of the shoulder, elbow, and hand. The kinetic chain is best characterized by 3 components: optimized anatomy, reproducible efficient motor patterns, and the sequential generation of forces. However, tissue injury and anatomic deficits such as weakness and/or tightness in the leg, pelvic core, or scapular musculature can lead to overuse shoulder injuries. These injuries can be prevented and maladaptations can be detected with a thorough understanding of biomechanics of the kinetic chain as it relates to overhead activity.

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