Glenohumeral motion deficits: friend or foe?

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;8(5):537-53.


In most shoulder conditions a loss of glenohumeral motion results in shoulder performance impairments. However, in the overhead athlete loss of glenohumeral internal rotation, termed glenohumeral internal rotation deficiency (GIRD), is a normal phenomenon that should be expected. Without a loss of glenohumeral internal rotation the overhead athlete will not have the requisite glenohumeral external rotation needed to throw a baseball at nearly 100 miles per hour, or serve a tennis ball at velocities of 120 miles per hour or more. Not all GIRD is pathologic. The authors of this manuscript have defined two types of GIRD; one that is normal and one that is pathologic. Anatomical GIRD (aGIRD) is one that is normal in overhead athletes and is characterized by a loss of internal rotation of less than 18°-20° with symmetrical total rotational motion (TROM) bilaterally. Pathologic GIRD (pGIRD) is when there is a loss of glenohumeral internal rotation greater than 18°-20° with a corresponding loss of TROM greater than 5° when compared bilaterally. A more problematic motion restriction may be that of a loss of TROM in the glenohumeral joint. Recent evidence supports that a loss of TROM is predictive of future injury to the shoulder in professional athletes. Additionally, external rotation deficiency (ERD), the difference between external rotation (ER) of the throwing shoulder and the non-throwing shoulder of less than 5°, may be another predictor of future shoulder injury and disability.

Level of evidence: 5.

Keywords: External rotation deficiency; glenohumeral internal rotation deficit; total rotation motion.