Biomechanical Implications of Performance Garments During the Overhead Throw Among Female Athletes
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The overhead throw is a dynamic motion that requires sequential movements of segments throughout the kinetic chain to efficiently deliver a ball to a specified target. Alterations throughout the kinetic chain often result in increased injury susceptibility (Atwater, 1979; Bartlett, 2008; Bencke, van den Tillaar, Møller, & Wagner, 2018; Chu, Jayabalan, Kibler, & Press, 2016). A major contributor of kinetic chain breakdown in overhead throwing athletes is the lack of scapula stability and mobility. In the dynamic overhead movement, the scapula must exhibit adequate stability as well as mobility for efficient humeral movement. Due to the repetitive and dynamic nature of overhead throwing, scapular dyskinesis, or inefficient movement of the scapula, is a common issue. It has been suggested that rehabilitative exercises, scapular taping, bracing, and more recently, performance garments assist in targeting scapular repositioning and improvement in mobility during dynamic tasks (Ashcraft, Lyman, Grange, Albrecht, & Hanson, 2017; Brophy-Williams, Driller, Shing, Fell, & Halson, 2015; Cole, 2008; Cole, McGrath, Harrington, Padue, Rucinski, & Prentice, 2013; Gascon, Gilmer, Hanks, Washington, & Oliver 2018a; Vangsness Jr; Zappala, Orrego, Boe, Fechner, Salminen, Cipriani, 2017). Performance garments have become increasingly popular with athletes for training and recovery; yet, the extant literature is not consistent on the overall biomechanical benefits during the overhead throw (Cipriani, Tiffany, & Lyssanova, 2014; Liu, Fu, He, & Xiong, 2011; MacRae, Laing, Niven, & Cotter, 2012). Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine upper extremity kinematic differences during a static stance and while performing an overhead throw among female athletes wearing two different performance garments. Results revealed a main effect of garment in posterior tilt during static standing during the Design Garment condition (p < 0.01). Results also reveal a significant main effect of Garment in scapular lateral/medial rotation (p = 0.03) and Garment by Event interaction for protraction/retraction (MER, p = 0.02), lateral/medial rotation (BR and MIR, p < 0.01), and anterior/posterior tilt (BR, p = 0.02 and MIR, p = 0.04). The overhead throw places great demands on the upper extremity due to repetitive stresses to the glenohumeral joint, which have shown to lead to ligament and soft tissue injuries. Various non-operative methods exist for the prevention and treatment of these injuries, however, literature is still lacking on the use of specific types of performance garments as an alternative method of upper extremity injury prevention and treatment. Although the current study provided additional insight into the influence of garments during static and dynamic conditions further investigation into electromyography and kinetic differences, as well as physiological, psychophysiological, and sociological adaptations that may impact athletic performance among the female athlete populations should be conducted.