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 aimed to investigate the extent to which an 8-week scapular stabilizer strengthening and stretching exercise can reduce shoulder pain and improve wheelchair basketball sport skills.
Methods: This is a parallel-group randomized controlled trial involving twenty-five elite wheelchair basketball players aged 25 to 54 who experienced shoulder pain. They were randomly assigned to either the exercise group (n=13) or the control group (n=12). The 8-week exercise program consisted of strengthening exercises targeting the serratus anterior, scapular retractor, and shoulder external rotator muscles, as well as stretching exercises for the upper trapezius, pectoralis major and minor muscles, and the posterior glenohumeral capsule and underlying soft tissues. Shoulder pain intensity was assessed using the wheelchair user's shoulder pain index, and basketball performance was evaluated using wheelchairs’ basketball skill tests. In addition, measurements of shoulder internal and external rotation range of motion, scapular upward rotation, maximal isometric muscle strength of middle and lower trapezius muscles, and pectoralis minor muscle length were taken at baseline and after the 8-week exercise intervention.
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Results: Participants in the exercise group experienced a significantly lower level of shoulder pain (p=0.001) and demonstrated a higher level of sports performance in all tests (p<0.05) compared to the control group. Moreover, the exercise group showed significant improvements in shoulder internal and external rotation range of motion (ROM) (p>0.001), external rotators muscle strength (p<0.001), and middle and lower trapezius muscle strength (p=0.003 and p=0.004, respectively) in comparison to the control group. Additionally, scapular upward rotation (p<0.001) and pectoralis minor length (p<0.001) were significantly increased in the exercise group compared to the control group (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Indeed, the results suggest that an eight-week exercise program focused on scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles can improve glenohumeral internal rotation, pectoralis minor length, and lower trapezius muscle strength. As a result, this exercise program could be considered a viable option for alleviating shoulder pain and enhancing sports performance in wheelchair basketball players.


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