Three-dimensional recording and description of motions of the shoulder mechanism

J Biomech Eng. 1995 Feb;117(1):27-40. doi: 10.1115/1.2792267.


A measurement technique is presented for recording positions of the bones of the shoulder mechanism, i.e., thorax, clavicula, scapula and humerus, in 3-D space, based on palpating and recording positions of bony landmarks. The palpation technique implies that only static positions can be measured. Accuracy of retrieving bony landmarks is checked on-line using rigid body assumptions. The measurement error is calculated afterwards and is comparable with cinegraphic methods. Axial rotation of the clavicula is estimated by minimizing rotations in the acromioclavicular joint. A number of motion definitions is compared by means of interindividual variation and subjective interpretability. Two useful definitions are proposed for describing motions of the shoulder mechanism. Four conditions have been recorded: abduction and anteflexion of the humerus both with and without additional weight in the hand. Abduction and anteflexion result in large differences in scapular and clavicular motions. The effect of additional weight in the hand on the position of the shoulder girdle is negligible.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bias
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palpation / methods
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rotation
  • Shoulder Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology