Shoulder pain in Iranian elite athletes: the prevalence and risk factors

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012 Sep;35(7):541-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.07.011. Epub 2012 Aug 24.


Objective: Shoulder sports injuries are relatively common in athletes who perform highly repetitive motions. The purposes of this study were to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for shoulder injuries and to analyze how individual and other sport characteristics contribute to the risk of shoulder injuries among 6 overhead sports, those being swimming, rowing, wrestling, basketball, volleyball, and handball.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 613 Iranian overhead sports athletes in different collegiate sport fields. Data were collected using different questionnaires. A structured questionnaire including demographics, sport characteristics, and also prevalence and risk factors of shoulder pain was used. Visual analogue scale and Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaires were used to determine the pain intensity and functional disability, respectively.

Results: Point, last 6-month, last year, and lifetime prevalences of shoulder pain were 21.4%, 29%, 38.8%, and 41.6%, respectively. The highest point prevalence was related to the rowing athletes with 31.9% and the lowest for swimming athletes (12.3%). Sex, body mass index, sport level, days of practice per week, and satisfaction with income were found to be significantly correlated with the prevalence of shoulder pain (P < .05 in all instances). For those with shoulder pain, the mean pain intensity and functional disability were 53.8 mm and 15.46%, respectively.

Conclusions: The prevalence of shoulder pain in athletes with highly repetitive overhead motions seems to be high.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Sports*
  • Young Adult