Thumbnail Image

Assessment of bilateral shoulder range of motion in firefighter trainees

Kahnt, Alexis

Firefighting is innately a dangerous profession. Many essential tasks that firefighters must perform involve repetitive overhead motions, which can place stress on the shoulder joint. Unpredictable environments paired with potentially biomechanically compromising movements of the shoulder put this population at an increased risk of injury. The purpose of this study was to assess bilateral shoulder range of motion (ROM) of firefighter trainees. Retrospective data for 30 male firefighter trainees (age 28.4 +/- 5.47 yrs.; height 175.18 +/- 33.48 cm; weight 86.4 +/- 10.92 kg) were analyzed. Data included demographic (age), anthropometrics (height and weight), and select movement pattern (shoulder abduction, shoulder horizontal abduction, shoulder external rotation, shoulder internal rotation, shoulder flexion, and shoulder extension) range of motion information. Firefighter trainees' range of motion measures differed significantly from normative data, especially shoulder external rotation, which yielded the least amount of trainees within normal range and the most trainees below normal range. The firefighter trainees' tendency to differ from normal range of motion suggests that this population could benefit from a movement assessment in order to identify those individuals with a potentially increased risk of injury.