Participating in wheelchair tennis increases the demands placed on the shoulder and could increase the risk of developing shoulder pain and injury that might be associated with differences in scapular kinematics. The aim of the study was to examine the presence of shoulder pain and scapular kinematics in professional wheelchair tennis players. Method Scapular kinematics were obtained in 11 professional wheelchair tennis players, 16 people with shoulder impingement and 16 people without shoulder impingement during humeral elevation and lowering. Clinical examination of the wheelchair tennis players was undertaken using the Wheelchair Users Shoulder Disability Index (WUSPI) and clinical signs of shoulder impingement. Findings The WUSPI questionnaire (mean = 28 SD 13.8) demonstrated wheelchair tennis participants experienced little shoulder pain and clinical examination revealed negative impingement tests. Wheelchair tennis players had greater scapular posterior tilt during humeral elevation (3.9° SE 1.71; P = 0.048) and lowering (4.3° SE 1.8; P = 0.04) on the dominant compared to non-dominant side. The dominant scapulae of wheelchair tennis players were significantly (P = 0.014) more upwardly rotated (21° SD 6.7) than the scapulae of people with shoulder impingement (14.1° SD 7.0) during scapular plane humeral elevation. Interpretation This first study of scapular kinematics in professional wheelchair tennis athletes demonstrated bilateral asymmetries and differences to able-bodied participants with shoulder impingement. Understanding the role of sport participation on shoulder function in wheelchair users would assist in the development of preventative and treatment exercise programmes for wheelchair users at risk of shoulder injury and pain.
Bibliographical note© 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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- School of Sport and Health Sciences - Clinical Prof-Sport and Exercise Medicine
- Sport and Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research and Enterprise Group