The Surfer's Shoulder: A Systematic review

The Surfer’s Shoulder: A systematic review of current literature and potential pathophysiological explanations of chronic complaints in wave surfers

Langenberg LC, Vieira Lima G, Heitkamp SE, Kemps FLAM, Jones MS, Moreira MAAG, Eygendaal D. The Surfer’s Shoulder: A Systematic Review of Current Literature and Potential Pathophysiological Explanations of Chronic Shoulder Complaints in Wave Surfers. Sports Med Open. 2021 Jan 6;7(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s40798-020-00289-0. PMID: 33409808; PMCID: PMC7788157.

Wave surfing will debut in the next Olympic Games and is increasingly popular as a sport. Chronic shoulder complaints are frequently reported amongst surfers, though literature researching its pathophysiology and prevention is scarce.

This article provides an overview of the current literature, proposes a potential pathogenesis and a potential physiotherapeutic prevention program for surfinduced shoulder complaints.

Methods: A systematic review was performed considering the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and MetaAnalyses (PRISMA) guidelines for articles regarding kinematic analysis of the surf paddling movement. Data sources were Embase, MEDLINE (PubMed) and Research gate. We included case series and cohort studies that originally studied or described the paddle movement made by wave surfers, studies that reported on kinesiologic analysis with nerve conduction studies and studies on 3D motion analysis of the shoulder while paddling.

Results: Eight original articles were included that analysed the shoulder movement in paddling surfers. Muscles that are active during paddling are mainly internal rotators and muscles that are involved in shoulder flexion. Internal rotators are active in propelling the surfer through the water, though external rotator strength is only used while the arm is out of the water

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