Asymmetrical shoulder kinematics in children with brachial plexus birth palsy

Susan V. Duff*, Sudarshan Dayanidhi, Scott H. Kozin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Shoulder movement patterns differ between limbs of children with unilateral brachial plexus birth palsy. To better understand the interlimb differences we examined the glenohumeral and scapulothoracic joint contributions to arm elevation. Methods: Sixteen children with brachial plexus birth palsy, 4-12 years of age participated. Shoulder 3D kinematic data were collected using a magnetic tracking device during arm elevation with the involved and non-involved limbs for three trials each at a fixed rate. Based on maximum arm elevation in the involved limb the children were divided into two groups: group one ≤75°; and group two >75°. Findings: During arm elevation from 15 to 75° the involved limb of group one displayed lower glenohumeral joint excursion than the non-involved and both limbs of group two. Scapular upward rotation was higher in the involved limb of both groups. For group one, the glenohumeral:scapulothoracic ratio for 15-75° arm elevation was lower in the involved (0.6:1) than the non-involved (2.2:1) limb and both limbs of group two: involved (1.7:1); non-involved (1.9:1). During 15-135° arm elevation for group two, the glenohumeral:scapulothoracic ratio was more similar between limbs: involved (1.5:1) and non-involved (2:1). Interpretation: The scapulothoracic joint made a greater contribution to arm elevation than the glenohumeral joint only in the involved limb of group one, altering the scapulohumeral rhythm. Musculoskeletal and neural factors may account for the group and limb differences. Routine 3D kinematic analysis of shoulder joint rotation may aid treatment planning and better quantify outcomes in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-638
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Brachial plexus
  • Children
  • Interlimb
  • Kinematics
  • Scapula
  • Scapulohumeral
  • Shoulder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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