High prevalence of shoulder pain among elite Norwegian female handball players

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Jun;23(3):288-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01398.x. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Clinical experience indicates that a substantial number of handball players may suffer from shoulder pain, but they continue to play despite having shoulder pain problems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and consequences of shoulder pain problems among Norwegian female elite handball players. In the preseason of the 2007-2008 season, 179 players from all 12 teams of the Norwegian elite league went through the following tests: internal and external shoulder range of motion, apprehension, relocation test, and shooting velocity. All players completed the Fahlström questionnaire and, for players with current pain, the Western Ontario shoulder instability index questionnaire. Sixty-five (36%) players reported shoulder pain on the test day, and 40 (22%) players reported previous shoulder pain. Two thirds of the players with pain reported a gradual onset. For players with current or previous pain, 22 (36%) and 14 (36%) had missed match play, and 43 (68%) and 28 (76%) reported changing their training habits. A positive apprehension and relocation test was found among 51 (29%) of the players. In conclusion, a high proportion of female elite handball players experience shoulder pain and problems and have an unstable shoulder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / epidemiology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Sports
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult