High-Pressure Balloon-Assisted Stretching of the Coracohumeral Ligament to Determine the Optimal Stretching Positions: A Cadaveric Study

Sora Baek, Kyu Jin Lee, Keewon Kim, Seung Ho Han, U. Young Lee, Kun Jai Lee, Sun Gun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background The coracohumeral ligament (CHL) is a thick capsular structure and markedly thickened when affected by adhesive capsulitis. Therapeutic stretching is the most commonly applied treatment for adhesive capsulitis, but optimal stretching postures for maximal therapeutic effects on the CHL have not been fully investigated. Objective To investigate the most effective stretching direction for the CHL by measuring the stretching intensity in 5 different directions and to determine whether the stretching intervention resulted in loosening of the ligament by comparing the changes of CHL tightness before and after stretching. Design Biomechanical cadaver study. Setting Academic institution cadaver laboratory. Participants Nine fresh frozen cadaveric shoulders. Methods A high-pressure balloon catheter inserted under the CHL and intraballoon pressure was measured, to evaluate CHL tightness without ligament damage as well as to augment and monitor stretching intensity. To find the optimal stretching direction, the glenohumeral joint was stretched from the neutral position into 5 directions sequentially under pressure-monitoring: flexion, extension [EX], external rotation [ER], EX+ER, and EX+ER+adduction [AD] directions. Main Outcome Measurements CHL tightness was determined by a surrogate parameter, the additional pressure created by the overlying CHL. The pressure increase (ΔPstr) by a specific directional stretch was considered as the stretching intensity. Results ΔPstr by the 5 directions were mean (standard deviation) values of 0.03 ± 0.07 atm, 0.87 ± 1.31 atm, 1.13 ± 1.36 atm, 1.49 ± 1.32 atm, and 2.10 ± 1.70 atm, respectively, revealing the highest ΔPstr by the EX+ER+AD stretch (P < .05). The balloon pressure by the overlying CHL was decreased from 0.45 ± 0.35 atm to 0.18 ± 0.14 atm (P = .012) before and after the stretching manipulation. Conclusions EX+ER+AD of the glenohumeral joint resulted in the greatest increase in balloon pressure, implying that it could be the most effective stretching direction. A series of stretching manipulations assisted with an underlying pressure balloon were capable of decreasing CHL tightness. With further development and modification, high-pressure balloon-assisted stretching can be a potential therapeutic option to release tight CHL, including the advantage of augmenting and monitoring stretching intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-934
Number of pages10
JournalPM and R
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Pressure Balloon-Assisted Stretching of the Coracohumeral Ligament to Determine the Optimal Stretching Positions: A Cadaveric Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this