Effective ball release during throwing requires coordination between the upper extremity (UE) and lower extremities. Deficits in UE and lower extremity (LE) range of motion (ROM) have been associated with decreased throwing performance and musculoskeletal injury.
PURPOSE: To determine the association between glenohumeral and hip ROM in softball athletes.
METHODS: 28 NCAA Division I female softball athletes participated (Age:18.8±1.5years,Height:168.1±6.8cm,Weight:70.6±9.3kg). ROM tests included: glenohumeral internal rotation (GIR) and external rotation (GER), hip internal rotation (HIR) and external rotation (HER). All ROM tests were completed bilaterally and an average of three trials was utilized for data analysis. ROM measurements were analyzed individually, as well as a total ROM for the UE (TGROM) and LE (THROM). Data was stratified by pitcher vs. position players, dominant (DOM) vs. non-dominant (NDOM) UE and LE. Normality was assessed using a Shapiro-Wilk test. Correlations between UE and LE ROM were analyzed utilizing Pearson correlations or Spearman-Rho correlations, as appropriate. Significance was set a priori at p < 0.050.
RESULTS: Pitchers demonstrated significant correlations between DOM GIR and DOM HIR (Correlation:0.845,P=0.017), as well as between DOM GIR and NDOM HER (Correlation:0.79,P=0.034). Pitchers also demonstrated correlations between DOM GIR and DOM THROM (Correlation:0.770,P=0.043), as well as DOM GIR and NDOM THROM (Correlation:0.785,P=0.036). Position players did not demonstrate any significant correlations between glenohumeral and hip ROM.
CONCLUSION: Pitchers demonstrated significant correlations between glenohumeral and hip ROM, while position players did not. The positive correlation in pitchers may indicate that effective pitch performance is dependent on efficient coordination between the glenohumeral joint and hip. Proper hip ROM is necessary for an athlete to effectively transfer energy to the glenohumeral joint. Changes in hip ROM may lead to adaptations in glenohumeral ROM, both positive and negative; future research should focus on understanding these possible adaptations.