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Research project: Objective Measurements of Clinical Tests of Dissociation of the Scapula using Motion Analysis

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Shoulder pain is a common problem and is difficult to diagnose and treat. This project examined how accurate some clinical tests of shoulder movement were and how reliable they were on repeated testing. A sophisticated technique for measuring shoulder movement (Vicon) was used to measure the movements of the shoulder blade while the arm was moved in different directions. The study found that the tests were reliable and were able to detect abnormalities of movement in people who had experience shoulder pain in the past but were no longer in pain. This study provided the basis for a larger project to examine movement abnormalities in people with pain and to find ways of relieving the pain and restoring normal movement.

Physiotherapy for musculoskeletal disorders is predominantly concerned with the
restoration of optimal movement and function. This project examined the use of clinical tests to identify abnormal movement patterns and aimed to:

  • establish the accuracy and reliability of a measurement protocol using a motion
  • analysis system (Vicon) for objective assessment of scapular movements ;
  • establish the reliability of five clinical tests of control of scapular motion during upper
    limb movements

conduct single case studies to examine the feasibility of these tests to identify
patterns of scapular movement in people with a history of shoulder pain.


The clinical tests of control of movement were performed on 19 participants without a history of shoulder pain and six with a history of shoulder pain. Movements of the scapula were documented in terms of rotations, using data processing methodology according to recommendations from the International Society of Biomechanics.


The tests were reliable and were able to detect abnormalities of movement in people who had experience shoulder pain in the past but were no longer in pain. This study provided the basis for a larger project to examine movement abnormalities in people with pain and to find ways of relieving the pain and restoring normal movement.

Project team

Mottram S, Morrissey  D, Chappell P, Worsley P, Warner, Stokes M

Project funder

Private Physiotherapy Education Foundation (PPEF)

 

Associated research themes

Health Technologies
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Shoulder Pain
Motion Analysis

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Warner, M.B., Mottram, S., Stokes, M.J., Chappell, P.H., Morrissey, D. Use of a passive marker motion capture device for measuring scapular kinematics: a feasibility study. XXII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Cape Town, July 2009. ISBN: 978-0-620-44037-0

Mottram S, Warner M, Chappell P, Morrissey D, M Stokes. Impaired control of scapular rotation during a clinical dissociation test in people with a history of shoulder pain 3rd International Conference on Movement Dysfunction, UK, Manual Therapu 2009;14:pS20

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