Upper Extremity Return To Sport: Covering All The Bases

Throwing Return-To-Sport: Upper Extremity Functional Testing and Sport-Specific Rehabilitation

Return-to-sport criteria and testing for the lower quarter (i.e. anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction injuries) have been heavily researched over the years.

(More recently, these tests have evolved into a movement-based testing criteria that focuses on movement quality and the biomechanical risk factors for ACL injury)

Conversely, there seems to be less attention to return-to-sport testing for the upper extremity. Regardless of the validity and specificity of the return-to-sport tests, a safe and expedient return to full sports participation requires a nearly complete return of many physical attributes. These attributes include muscular flexibility, strength, power, endurance and functional movement patterns (Myer et al 2011).

The overhead throwing motion is a coordinated effort of muscle units from the entire body, culminating with explosive motion of the upper extremity (Seroyer et al 2010). The lower extremity and trunk generate and transfer energy to the upper extremity.

Subsequently, a return-to-throwing program must challenge the lower extremity, trunk and upper extremity. Below is a sample of our upper extremity return-to-sport testing and rehabilitation.

Victor is a 15-year old baseball player (second baseman) who had a shoulder subluxation incident 2 months ago when attempting to dive for a ball. Since the injury, much of his initial rehabilitation was focused on restoring his shoulder range of motion, strength and throwing mechanics. Following our return-to-throwing program, our rehabilitation principle was to challenge the gluteals, abdominals and scapular stabilizers in static and dynamic positions. The final phase of the program includes challenging the entire movement system through repetitive throwing.

Have you done enough to prepare your body for the biomechanical demands of your sport or activity?

We at Institute for Precision In Movement can help. Visit us for a complimentary (free) consultation to see how we can get you to the next level.

Leave a comment