Background Proprioception is a specialized variation of the sensory modality of touch that includes the sensation of joint motion and joint position. It is an essential part of shoulder stability and neuromuscular control. It is controversial whether throwing sports and sports training effects shoulder proprioception.
Objective To analyse the shoulder proprioceptive abilities of professional handball players.
Design Prospective study with control group and descriptive analysis.
Setting Elite division handball players.
Participants 70 professional handball players from top national league and 25 healthy volunteers as control.
Interventions Shoulder proprioception was evaluated by measuring error of active reproduction of joint position (EARJP). Own construction electronic goniometer (Propriometer) with accuracy of 0,1o was used for measurements. Both dominant and non-dominant shoulders were evaluated. EARJP was measured in 4 directions and 3 positions for each direction: flexion and abduction (60o, 90o, 120o), external and internal rotation (30o, 45o, 60o). Three repetitions for each position were performed to obtain an average EARJP for every subject and position.
Results Based on statistical analysis there was significantly better proprioceptive control (lower EARJP) in throwing versus non throwing and throwing versus control group shoulder. No difference in proprioception when comparing dominant and non-dominant shoulders in control group. Higher reference angles correlated with better proprioception. Increased external rotation correlated with better shoulder control in mid range of external rotation.
Conclusions Throwing sport affects neuromuscular shoulder control. Handball players show significantly better proprioceptive abilities when compared to control normal population. Throwing shoulder has better neuromuscular control then the opposite one.
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