Background: Throwing injuries to the shoulder joint often occur during shoulder external rotation. An appropriate combination of thoracic, scapular, and humeral motion during throwing is important to prevent such injuries, but it is unclear how thoracic posture contributes to shoulder motion during throwing. Research question: The purpose of this study, therefore, was to clarify the influence of thoracic posture on scapulothoracic and glenohumeral motion during shoulder external rotation. Methods: Eccentric external rotation at 90° of shoulder abduction in thoracic flexion and extension postures was performed by 15 asymptomatic participants. Three-dimensional scapulothoracic and glenohumeral movements were measured with an electromagnetic tracking device at 75° 80° 85° and maximum shoulder external rotation. The thoracic angle and maximum shoulder external rotation in absolute coordination were measured with a three-dimensional motion capture system. Results: The results showed that scapular posterior tilting and external rotation in the thoracic extension posture were significantly greater than those in the flexion posture (p < 0.05). Glenohumeral horizontal extension was significantly less in the thoracic extension posture than in the flexion posture (p < 0.05), whereas maximum shoulder external rotation was significantly greater (p < 0.01). Thus, thoracic extension increased scapulothoracic posterior tilting and external rotation and reduced glenohumeral horizontal extension during shoulder external rotation, as well as increasing maximum shoulder external rotation. Significance: These findings suggest that thoracic extension may contribute to reduction of mechanical demand in the glenohumeral joint during throwing, potentially reducing shoulder injuries.
- Eccentric shoulder external rotation
- Glenohumeral motion
- Scapulothoracic motion
- Thoracic posture
- Throwing injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine