skip to main content
Back to Top

Press Release: Most elite athletes return to competition following operative management of meniscal tears

We are pleased to share with you a recent publication in Arthroscopy. This publication is entitled "Humeral Retroversion and Capsule Thickening in the Overhead Throwing Athlete: A Systematic Review".

Please find access to the full-version of the article click here.

Kay J, Kirsh JM, Bakshi N, Ekhtiari S, Horner N, Gichuru M, Alolabi B, Khan M, Bedi Asheesh. Humeral Retroversion and Capsule Thickening in the Overhead Throwing Athlete: A Systematic Review. Arthrosopy. Jan 2018. Epub ahead of print.


To investigate the humeral and soft-tissue adaptations, including humeral retroversion, range of motion, and posterior capsule changes, in overhead throwing athletes.

We performed a systematic review in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PubMed, MEDLINE, CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), and Embase were searched from January 1, 2011, through April 23, 2017, by 2 reviewers independently and in duplicate. The methodologic quality of all included articles was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-randomized Studies criteria. Interobserver agreement for assessments of eligibility was calculated with the Cohen κ statistic. Descriptive statistics and raw counts were used to summarize data.

We identified 14 studies (6 Level IV and 8 Level III) including 1,152 overhead throwing athletes. The mean age of the included athletes was 18.37 years (standard deviation, 1.52 years), with 59% of the athletes being pitchers and 41% being position players. Significantly greater humeral retroversion was found across all studies evaluating bony morphology in the dominant arm of overhead throwing athletes (range of mean differences, 9.6°-25.8°). Each of these studies also found decreased internal rotation in the dominant arm (range of mean internal rotation differences, −28° to −7.8°). Five studies found a significant negative correlation between the difference in humeral retroversion between the 2 arms and the difference in internal rotation (range of Pearson correlation coefficients, −0.56 to −0.35). Soft-tissue adaptations were assessed in 5 studies, with 4 identifying significantly thicker posterior capsules and 2 identifying significantly stiffer posterior capsules (P < .05).

Overhead throwing athletes consistently show several distinct changes in their dominant shoulder. These include increased humeral retroversion and the presence of a thickened and stiff posterior capsule. Concomitantly, there is often reduced internal rotation and increased external rotation of the dominant arm.



© 201​​7 McMaster University  |  1280 Main Street West  |  Hamilton, Ontario ​L8S 4K1  |  905-525-​9140   |  Contact Us | Terms of Use & Privacy Policy