Document Type : Original Articles


1 Department of Sports Injuries and Corrective Exercises, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran.

2 Department of sport injures and Corrective Exercises, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

3 School of Sport Science, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Semnan, Iran



 Background: This study investigated the extent to which an 8-week scapular stabilizer strengthening and stretching exercise can help to decrease shoulder pain and increase wheelchair basketball sport skills.
Methods: Twenty-five 25- to 54-year-old elite wheelchair basketball players with shoulder pain were randomly assigned to an exercise (n=13) or control (n=12) groups. The 8-week exercise program included strengthing exercises for serratus anterior, scapular retractor, and shoulder external rotator muscles and stretching exercises for upper trapezius, pectoralis major and minor muscles, and posterior glenohumeral capsule and underlying soft tissues. Shoulder pain intensity was measured using the wheelchair user's shoulder pain index and basketball performance using wheelchairs’ basketball skill tests. Shoulder internal and external rotation ROM, scapular upward rotation, maximal isometric muscle strength of middle and lower trapezius muscles, and pectoralis minor muscle length were also measured at baseline and after the 8-week exercise intervention.
Results: Participants of exercise group experienced a lower level of shoulder pain (p=0.001) and a higher level of sport performance in all tests (p<0.05) compared with control group. In addition, shoulder internal and external rotation ROM (p>0.001) and external rotators muscle strength (p<0.001) and middle and lower trapezius muscle strength (p=0.003 and p=0.004, respectively) were improved significantly in the exercise group than control group. Scapular upward rotation (p<0.001) and pectoralis minor length(p<0.001) were also increased significantly in the exercise group than control group (p<0.05).
Conclusions: An eight-week exercise program that targeted scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles can improve glenohumeral internal rotation, pectoralis minor length, and lower Trapezius muscle strength, therefore can be a viable option for shoulder pain relief and enhancing sport performance in wheelchair basketball players.