In vivo measurement of shoulder joint loads during activities of daily living

J Biomech. 2009 Aug 25;42(12):1840-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.05.035. Epub 2009 Jul 30.


Until recently the contact loads acting in the glenohumeral joint have been calculated using musculoskeletal models or measured in vitro. Now, contact forces and moments are measured in vivo using telemeterized shoulder implants. Mean total contact forces from four patients during eight activities of daily living are reported here. Lifting a coffee pot (1.5kg) with straight arm caused an average force of 105.0%BW (%body weight) (range: 90-124.6%BW), while setting down the coffee pot in the same position led to higher forces of 122.9%BW on the average (105.3-153.4%BW). The highest joint contact forces were measured when the straight arm was abducted or elevated by 90 degrees or more, with a weight in the hand. Lifting up 2kg from a board up to head height caused a contact force of 98.3%BW (93-103.6%BW); again, setting it down on the board led to higher forces of 131.5%BW (118.8-144.1%BW). In contrast to previously calculated high loads, the contact force during passive holding of a 10kg weight laterally was only 12.3%BW (9.2-17.9%BW), but when lifting it up to belt height it increased to 91.5%BW (87-95%BW). The moments transferred inside the joint at our patients varied much more than did the forces both inter and intra-individually. Our data suggest that patients with shoulder problems or during the first post-operative weeks after shoulder fractures or joint replacements should avoid certain activities encountered during daily living e.g. lifting or holding a weight with an outstretched arm. Some energy-related optimization criteria used in the literature for analytical musculoskeletal shoulder models must now be reconsidered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Prosthesis
  • Lifting*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*