Reflexive muscle activation alterations in shoulders with anterior glenohumeral instability

Joseph B. Myers*, Yan Ying Ju, Ji Hye Hwang, Patrick J. McMahon, Mark W. Rodosky, Scott M. Lephart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with glenohumeral instability have proprioceptive deficits that are suggested to contribute to muscle activation alterations. Hypothesis: Muscle activation alterations will be present in shoulders with anterior glenohumeral instability. Study Design: Posttest-only control group design. Methods: Eleven patients diagnosed with anterior glenohumeral instability were matched with 11 control subjects. Each subject received an external humeral rotation apprehension perturbation while reflexive muscle activation characteristics were measured with indwelling electromyography and surface electromyography. Results: Patients with instability demonstrated suppressed pectoralis major and biceps brachii mean activation; increased peak activation of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus; and a significantly slower biceps brachii reflex latency. Supraspinatus-subscapularis coactivation was significantly suppressed in the patients with instability as well. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: In addition to the capsuloligamentous deficiency and proprioceptive deficits present in anterior glenohumeral instability, muscle activation alterations are also present. The suppressed rotator cuff coactivation, slower biceps brachii activation, and decreased pectoralis major and biceps brachii mean activation may contribute to the recurrent instability episodes seen in this patient group. Clinicians can implement therapeutic exercises that address the suppressed muscles in patients opting for conservative management or rehabilitation before and after capsulorraphy procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 06 2004


  • Electromyography
  • Instability
  • Reflexes
  • Shoulder


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