Stretching Positions for the Posterior Capsule of the Glenohumeral Joint: Strain Measurement Using Cadaver Specimens

This study investigated whether the current shoulder stretching program was sufficient to stretch the entire posterior capsule.  Using 8 fresh-frozen cadaver shoulders 8 stretching positions for the posterior capsule were simulated by passive internal rotation. Stretching positions of 0°, 30°, 60°, and 90° of elevation in the scapular plane; 60° of flexion; 60° of abduction; 30° of extension; and 60° of flexion and horizontal adduction were adopted. Strain was measured in the upper, middle, and lower parts of the capsule.

Based on the results of this cadaver study, large strains on the posterior capsule of the shoulder were obtained at a stretching position of 30° of elevation in the scapular plane with internal rotation for the middle and lower capsule, while a stretching position of 30° of extension with internal rotation was effective for the upper and lower capsule.  The current posterior capsule stretching program of the shoulder was not sufficient to stretch the entire posterior capsule.

The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008, 36, 2014-2022

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