The humeroscapular motion interface

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1998 May:(350):120-7.


Motion between the humerus and scapula commonly is described as glenohumeral motion. However, humeroscapular motion occurs at two distinct sites. In addition to the motion at the diarthrodial glenohumeral joint, movement occurs between the proximal humerus and related structures and the surrounding sleeve of structures, including the acromion, deltoid, coracoid, coracoacromial ligament, and the muscles attached to the coracoid. This site of nonarticular shoulder motion is defined as the humeroscapular motion interface. Nonarticular humeroscapular motion can be documented and measured using standard magnetic resonance imaging techniques. The maximum average interfacial motion using axial images was 29.1 mm, which occurred at the level of the maximum diameter of the humeral head. Interfacial motion varied depending on the site measured. If pathologic conditions such as adhesions secondary to trauma or surgery interfere with or obliterate this space at sites of significant sliding motion, overall shoulder motion will be limited. Successful treatment of shoulder stiffness related to humeroscapular restraints is likely to require restoration of the normal sliding motion at the humeroscapular motion interface, in addition to resolving restraints affecting the glenohumeral joint motion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Humerus / anatomy & histology
  • Humerus / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Scapula / anatomy & histology
  • Scapula / physiology*