It is hypothesized that proprioceptive information plays an important role in joint stabilization and that muscle fatigue may alter proprioceptive ability. The purpose of this study was to determine what effect shoulder muscle fatigue has on glenohumeral proprioception and to examine the relationship between arm dominance and shoulder proprioception. Eighty subjects without a history of glenohumeral pathology participated. Each was seated on an isokinetic dynamometer with a randomly selected shoulder positioned in 90° of abduction and elbow flexion. With vision blinded, the arm was passively positioned in 75° of external rotation for 10 seconds, then passively returned to the neutral starting position. Three trials each of active and passive repositioning (2°/sec) were recorded. Following a fatigue protocol, both active and passive repositioning were reassessed. Testing order was randomized. A significant difference was detected between pre- and post-fatigue scores. No significant difference was detected between dominant and nondominant extremities. No relationship between arm dominance and shoulder proprioception was established. It is concluded that shoulder proprioception is diminished in the presence of shoulder muscle fatigue, suggesting clinical rehabilitation protocols must emphasize increasing muscular endurance.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1996;23(6):348-352.
Key Words: proprioception, fatigue, dominance, shoulder