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J Athl Train. 1996 Apr-Jun; 31(2): 119–124.
PMCID: PMC1318441

Chronic Brachial Plexopathies and Upper Extremity Proprioception and Strength

C. Buz Swanik, MS, ATC
C. Buz Swanik is Doctoral Candidate in the Sports Medicine Program at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
Tim J. Henry, MS, ATC
Tim J. Henry is Doctoral Candidate in the Sports Medicine Program at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.


Brachial plexopathies, where traction or compressive forces disrupt motor and sensory nerve conduction, are the most common nerve injuries in collision sports. Athletes frequently do not report these episodes, however, predisposing the brachial plexus to recurrent trauma. The purpose of this study was to identify how multiple injuries to the brachial plexus affects shoulder strength and proprioception. Ten male intercollegiate football players with at least three unilateral episodes of brachial plexopathies were tested an average of 10 weeks after the most recent episode. The uninvolved shoulder was used as the control. Isometric peak torque was assessed for shoulder abduction, external rotation, and elbow flexion. Proprioception was measured under two conditions: threshold to detection of passive motion and reproduction of passive positioning. Dependent t tests revealed significant mean differences (p < .05) between the involved and uninvolved extremity for abduction peak torque, overall mean peak torque, and one out of four conditions of threshold to detection of passive motion conditions. This was in the neutral position moving into external rotation. In addition, subjects with greater numbers of episodes exhibited larger strength deficits. The results of this study emphasize the need for timely re-evaluation of athletes with chronic brachial plexopathies.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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