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Cross Body Stretching for Internal Rotation Deficit

Vincent, Heather K. PhD, FACSM; Vincent, Kevin R. MD, PhD, FACSM

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Current Sports Medicine Reports: March 2018 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 82
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000461
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Posterior shoulder tightness and internal rotation deficit at the glenohumeral joint occur often in athletes who participate in throwing sports, racquet and crosse sports, or swimming (1–3). This tightness and decreased internal rotation motion may contribute to shoulder impingement pain through elevation of subacromial contact pressure at the greatest external rotation (4).This deficit can be corrected through passive and active stretching methods performed by a therapist or self-administered by the patient. Among the stretching techniques is the easy-to-perform cross body stretch (CBS). The newest systematically reviewed evidence indicates that the CBS immediately, and over the short-term, effectively reduces the rotation deficit and shoulder tightness compared to other common methods (2,5,6). The Figure demonstrates this stretching technique. The CBS is a fast-acting, low, or no-cost effective option to help treat glenohumeral internal rotation deficit.

Figure
Figure:
CBS: pull arm across the chest while creating tension in the muscles of the shoulder. Hold stretch for 10 to 15 s and repeat three times. Switch arms and repeat.

The authors declare no conflict of interest and do not have any financial disclosures. Both Drs. Vincent currently serve on the Editorial Board for Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®.

References

1. Ellenbecker TS, Roetert EP, Piorkowski PA, Schulz DA. Glenohumeral joint internal and external rotation range of motion in elite junior tennis players. J. Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther. 1996; 24:336–41.
2. Mine K, Nakayama T, Milanese S, Grimmer K. Effectiveness of stretching on posterior shoulder tightness and glenohumeral internal-rotation deficit: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J. Sport Rehabil. 2017; 26:294–305.
3. Torres RR, Gomes JL. Measurement of glenohumeral internal rotation in asymptomatic tennis players and swimmers. Am. J. Sports Med. 2009; 37:1017–23.
4. Mihata T, Gates J, McGarry M, et al. Effect of posterior shoulder tightness on internal impingement in a cadaveric model of throwing. Knee Surg. Sports Traumatol. Arthrosc. 2015; 23:548–54.
5. McClure P, Balaicuis J, Heiland D, et al. A randomized controlled comparison of stretching procedures for posterior shoulder tightness. J. Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther. 2007; 37:108–14.
6. Moore SD, Laudner KG, McLoda TA, Shaffer MA. The immediate effects of muscle energy technique on posterior shoulder tightness: a randomized controlled trial. J. Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther. 2011; 41:400–7.
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