Context: Throwing-related arm injuries are common in softball pitchers and may lead to diminished health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Arm symptoms such as pain have been reported to be more common in healthy overhead athletes than nonoverhead athletes. Furthermore, more frequent shoulder symptoms and lower shoulder function have been demonstrated in athletes with self-reported history of shoulder injury.
Objective: To evaluate the relationship between arm injury history, current pain rating, and HRQOL assessed via 2 region-specific patient self-report scales in high school and college softball pitchers.
Setting: High school and college athletic training facilities.
Participants: 25 female softball pitchers (10 high school, 15 college; 18 ± 2 y, 169 ± 7.6 cm, 67.5 ± 10.3 kg).
Intervention: Self-reported arm injury history and rating of current pain and HRQOL were collected during the late season.
Main outcome measures: A self-report questionnaire of arm injury history and current pain rating was used, and HRQOL was assessed via 2 region-specific scales: the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) and the Functional Arm Scale for Throwers© (FAST©). Correlational analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between arm injury history, current pain rating, and the DASH total score and sport module and the FAST total score, pitching module, and subscales.
Results: A history of arm injury from throwing was reported by 64% of participants, 31% of whom had to cease activity for more than 10 d. The most common site of arm time-loss injury was the shoulder (81%). Mild to severe shoulder pain during the competitive season was reported by 60% of respondents. The DASH and the FAST total scores were significantly correlated (r = .79, P < .001). Respondent rating of shoulder pain correlated significantly with the DASH total (r = .69) and sports module (r = .69) and the FAST total (r = .71), pitching module (r = .65), and pain (r = .73), impairment (r = .76), functional-limitation (r = .79), disability (r = .52), and societal-limitations (r = .46) subscales.
Conclusion: History of arm injury is common in female high school and college softball pitchers. Severe injury and elevated pain are associated with lower HRQOL that extends beyond the playing field.