Shoulder support for children with subluxation: A case study

Audrey Yasukawa*, Ruth Cofre, Leonard Kahn, Colleen Buhrfiend, Deborah Gaebler-Spira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Children with brachial plexus injury from birth may present with varying degrees of muscle imbalance, as well as a subluxation of the glenohumeral joint. Shoulder subluxation occurs when the muscles of the shoulder girdle are weak or flaccid. The deltoid and the rotator cuff musculatures are unable to position the humerus appropriately to the glenoid fossa, and there is concurrent stretching of the glenohumeral joint capsule, ligaments, and nonactive muscles. Treatment for reducing the subluxation and positioning the arm typically has involved use of an appropriate sling or humeral cuff support. There are commercially available slings for children but no child-size shoulder support. The purpose of this case study was to design a custom-fitted shoulder support for children that reduces subluxation and maintains alignment through extended periods of the day. A validated radiographic method was used to quantify the subluxation before application of the shoulder support, immediately after applying the shoulder support, and after 3 hours of wear. A motion tracking system objectively quantified active shoulder and elbow movements in the presence and absence of the shoulder support. This case study suggests that the custom-designed child support significantly reduced the subluxation, maintained alignment through extended periods of the day, and maintained the active range in elbow flexion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Pediatric shoulder support
  • Shoulder subluxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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