Evaluation of shoulder joint position sense in both asymptomatic and rehabilitated professional rugby players and matched controls

Phys Ther Sport. 2010 Feb;11(1):18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Nov 20.


Objective: To assess if joint position sense (JPS) in the shoulder differed between un-injured rugby players, matched control subjects and previously injured rehabilitated rugby players.

Design: Mixed design.

Setting: University biomechanics laboratory.

Participants: 15 asymptomatic professional rugby union players, 15 previously injured professional rugby union players, 15 asymptomatic matched non-rugby playing controls had their JPS assessed.

Main outcome measures: JPS was assessed using two criterion angles in the 90 degrees shoulder abduction position (45 degrees and 80 degrees external rotation).

Results: The study found a significant difference between groups in error score (p=0.02). The testing angle also had a significant effect on error score (p=0.002), with greater error scores occurring in the mid range position.

Conclusion: This study showed rugby players to have better JPS than controls, indicating JPS might not be related to injury risk. Poor JPS appears to be related to injury, players having sustained an injury have decreased JPS despite surgery and/or rehabilitation and returning to sport without incident.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Football / injuries
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture*
  • Proprioception*
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult