Glenohumeral range of motion in handball players with and without throwing-related shoulder pain

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 May;22(5):602-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2012.08.027. Epub 2012 Nov 22.


Background: Overhead athletes are subject to adaptations in the shoulder including glenohumeral internal rotation deficit (GIRD). It has been documented that this alteration is more evident in overhead athletes with pain. Our objective was to compare glenohumeral rotation motion between symptomatic and asymptomatic handball players.

Materials and methods: Glenohumeral rotation range of motion, GIRD, external rotation gain (ERG), and total rotation motion were determined with a standard goniometer in 30 handball players with pain and 27 without pain. Differences between the throwing and non-throwing shoulder were determined in each group.

Results: Handball players with pain had significantly greater GIRD (P = .002), ERG (P = .027), and external rotation in the throwing arm (P = .042) and lesser internal rotation in the throwing arm (P = .029) in comparison to the athletes without pain. Comparisons between limbs exhibited a significant difference in the 2 groups regarding internal and external rotation (P < .02), but differences within the group with pain were greater. Differences were not found in the total rotation motion between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: Handball players showed specific adaptations in the throwing shoulder; in particular, handball players with pain have greater GIRD, ERG, and external rotation and lesser internal rotation of the throwing shoulder.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology*
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Young Adult