Effect of biceps-to-triceps transfer on rotator cuff stress during upper limb weight-bearing lift in tetraplegia: A modeling and simulation analysis

Carrie L. Peterson*, Michael S. Bednar, Wendy M. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Rotator cuff stress during upper limb weight-bearing lifts presumably contribute to rotator cuff disease, which is the most common cause of shoulder pain in individuals with tetraplegia. Elbow extension strength appears to be a key determinant of rotator cuff stress during upper limb weight-bearing lifts since individuals with paraplegia who generate greater elbow extensor moments experience lower rotator cuff stress relative to individuals with tetraplegia. Biceps-to-triceps transfer surgery can increase elbow extension strength in individuals with tetraplegia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether active elbow extension via biceps transfer decreases rotator cuff stress during weight-bearing lifts in individuals with tetraplegia. A forward dynamics computational framework was used to estimate muscle stress during the lift; stress was computed as muscle force divided by the peak isometric muscle force. We hypothesized that rotator cuff stresses would be lower in simulated lifting with biceps transfer relative to simulated lifting without biceps transfer. We found that limited elbow extension strength in individuals with tetraplegia, regardless of whether elbow strength is enabled via biceps transfer or is residual after spinal cord injury, results in muscle stresses exceeding 85% of the peak isometric muscle stress in the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor. The rotator cuff stresses we estimated suggest that performance of weight-bearing activities should be minimized or assisted in order to reduce the risk for shoulder pain. Our results also indicate that biceps transfer is unlikely to decrease rotator cuff stress during weight-bearing lifts in individuals with tetraplegia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume90
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 11 2019

Keywords

  • Pain
  • Pressure relief
  • Shoulder
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tendon transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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