Range of Motion Changes in Female Elite Swimmers Throughout a Competitive Season
Keywords:Clinician-Rated Outcome, College and University Patient Population, Patient-Reported Outcomes
Upper extremity injuries are the most common injury in swimming athletes specifically in the collegiate setting. Females in particular, are more likely to suffer these injuries when comparing to male collegiate swimmers. “Swimmer Shoulder”, a generic term for overuse shoulder injuries in the swimming population occurs with high rate and intensity of training. Significant factors that have been found to contribute to this pathology are deficits in internal rotation, lack of stability, and increased demands on the shoulder. The aim for this clinical outcomes project was to evaluate changes in range of motion (ROM) total arc of the shoulder, and patient-perceived function in female elite swimmers throughout a competitive season. Shoulder total arc ROM was measured passively with the student-athlete supine. A digital inclinometer was used to make it simpler for the clinician to assess ROM on their own. The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic Shoulder and Elbow Score (KJOC) was used to measure self-perceived upper extremity function in sport. It consisted of a set of demographic and participation questions followed by 10 visual analogue scale questions about upper extremity function during sport. Upper extremity stability was also measured using the closed-kinetic chain upper extremity stability test (CKCUE). Results showed shoulder ROM (total arc) restrictions occurred during times of increased training intensity and volume. When patients had smaller total arc measurements, the student-athletes reported lower KJOC scores for sport related function. There was an increase in ROM at a time where intensity, and distance of training were decreased. Overall upper extremity stability gradually improved over the course of a competitive season.