Functional Multijoint Position Reproduction Acuity in Overhead-Throwing Athletes
CONTEXT: Baseball players rely on the sensorimotor system to uphold the balance between upper extremity stability and mobility while maintaining athletic performance. However, few researchers have studied functional multijoint measures of sensorimotor acuity in overhead-throwing athletes.
OBJECTIVE: To compare sensorimotor acuity between 2 high-demand functional positions and among planes of motion within individual joints and to describe a novel method of measuring sensorimotor function.
DESIGN: Single-session, repeated-measures design.
SETTING: University musculoskeletal research laboratory.
PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I baseball players (age = 20.8 +/- 1.5 years, height = 181.3 +/- 5.1 cm, mass = 87.8 +/- 9.1 kg) with no history of upper extremity injury or central nervous system disorder.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): We measured active multijoint position reproduction acuity in multiple planes using an electromagnetic tracking device. Subjects reproduced 2 positions: arm cock and ball release. We calculated absolute and variable error for individual motions at the scapulothoracic, glenohumeral, elbow, and wrist joints and calculated overall joint acuity with 3-dimensional variable error.
RESULTS: Acuity was significantly better in the arm-cock position compared with ball release at the scapulothoracic and glenohumeral joints. We observed significant differences among planes of motion within the scapulothoracic and glenohumeral joints at ball release. Scapulothoracic internal rotation and glenohumeral horizontal abduction and rotation displayed less acuity than other motions.
CONCLUSIONS: We established the reliability of a functional measure of upper extremity sensorimotor system acuity in baseball players. Using this technique, we observed differences in acuity between 2 test positions and among planes of motion within the glenohumeral and scapulothoracic joints. Clinicians may consider these differences when designing and implementing sensorimotor system training. Our error scores are similar in magnitude to those reported using single-joint and single-plane measures. However, 3-dimensional, multijoint measures allow practical, unconstrained test positions and offer additional insight into the upper extremity as a functional unit.
Tripp, Brady L.; Uhl, Timothy L.; Mattacola, Carl G.; Srinivasan, Cidambi; and Shapiro, Robert, "Functional Multijoint Position Reproduction Acuity in Overhead-Throwing Athletes" (2006). Physical Therapy Faculty Publications. 7.