Differences in Passive Shoulder Range of Motion Between Baseball Players With Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Matched Healthy Controls

J. Craig Garrison*, Joseph P. Hannon, John E. Conway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS) is becoming more recognized as a diagnosis in the throwing athlete. Currently, there is limited information on the clinical presentation and development of nTOS in baseball players. Purpose: To compare passive shoulder range of motion (ROM) and anatomic humeral retrotorsion (HRT) of baseball players diagnosed with nTOS with a group of healthy, matched controls. Study Design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: A total of 53 adolescent baseball players diagnosed with nTOS (age, 17.2 ± 2.3 years; height, 180.9 ± 10.1 cm; weight, 80.0 ± 13.3 kg) were compared with 53 healthy baseball players (age, 17.2 ± 2.4 years; height, 183.9 ± 9.0 cm; weight, 83.8 ± 11.5 kg). Participants were measured for shoulder internal rotation (IR) and external rotation (ER) ROM and HRT. All measurements were taken bilaterally, and the differences (throwing to nonthrowing arm) were used to calculate mean values for glenohumeral internal rotation difference, glenohumeral external rotation difference (GERD), total rotational motion difference (TRMdiff), and anatomic humeral retrotorsion difference. Group comparisons were made between the nTOS and control players using multivariate analysis of variance, and descriptive comparisons were made with independent t tests. Results: There were no significant differences between groups in age, height, weight, or years of experience. Players in the nTOS group had significantly less throwing arm ER compared with controls (103.4° ± 10.4° vs 109.6° ± 7.5°, respectively; P =.001) and GERD (3.0° ± 9.2° vs 8.8° ± 9.2°, respectively; P =.002). TRMdiff was significantly greater in nTOS (–11.1° ± 11.1°) than in controls (–3.7° ± 9.4°) (P <.001). Conclusion: In the current study, adolescent baseball players diagnosed with nTOS were evaluated with shoulder ROM differences when compared with a matched healthy cohort. A loss of throwing arm ER appeared to be the main factor behind shoulder ROM changes in the nTOS group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • baseball
  • neurogenic thoracic outlet
  • shoulder range of motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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