Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Reliability of scapular kinematics estimated with three-dimensional motion analysis during shoulder elevation and flexion

Nathalie Alexander, Regina Wegener, Vilijam Zdravkovic, David North, Tom Gawliczek & Bernhard Jost


Knowing the reliability of three-dimensional motion analysis to evaluate scapular kinematics during upper limb movements is essential to plan further research dedicated to understanding scapulothoracic joint movements relative to the global shoulder motion.

The aim of this study was to assess the intra-subject as well as intra- and interrater reliability of scapulothoracic joint angles during shoulder elevation in scapular plane and shoulder flexion.

Twenty healthy participants (26.6 ± 3.5 years) were asked to perform maximum shoulder elevation in scapular plane as well as shoulder flexion. Reliability was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and its 95% confidence interval of scapular kinematics (rotation, tilting, pro-retraction) at each degree of global motion (shoulder elevation or shoulder flexion) between 0° to 150°.

ICCs above 0.60 were accepted as good indicators for reliability. Intra-subject reliability was found to be very high (>0.9 for most part) for all scapulothoracic joint angles during both movements. Intra- and interrater reliability also showed good reliability being above 0.60 for the most part (except scapula tilting during shoulder elevation). Scapular kinematics showed low reliability during the respective first 10° and 20° of shoulder elevation and shoulder flexion. Furthermore, decreasing reliability was found above 120° of shoulder elevation or flexion.

This study generally showed good to high levels of reliability in the range of interest (20-120°) in evaluating scapula kinematics in healthy adults during shoulder elevation and flexion; these results are important for future research providing a better understanding of scapular kinematics.
citation Alexander N, Wegener R, Zdravkovic V, North D, Gawliczek T, Jost B. Reliability of scapular kinematics estimated with three-dimensional motion analysis during shoulder elevation and flexion. Gait Posture 2018; 66:267-272.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 10-09-2018
journal title Gait Posture (66)
ISSN electronic 1879-2219
pages 267-272
PubMed 30223210
DOI 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.09.008