Three-dimensional shoulder kinematics in individuals with C5-C6 spinal cord injury

A. M. Acosta, R. F. Kirsch*, F. C T Van Der Helm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The shoulder kinematics of five able-bodied subjects and those of five arms in three subjects with spinal cord injuries at C5 or C6 levels were measured as the subjects elevated their arms in three different planes: coronal, scapular and sagittal. The range of humeral elevation was significantly reduced in all spinal cord injury (SCI) subjects relative to able-bodied subjects. Over this restricted range of humeral motion, the scapula of SCI subjects tended to be medially rotated, relative to able-bodied subjects, and the protraction and spinal tilt angles of the scapula of the SCI subjects indicated scapular winging. These results are consistent with paralysis or at least with significant weakness of the serratus anterior muscle. If further study confirms this hypothesis, functional neuromuscular stimulation of the serratus anterior muscle via a nerve cuff electrode may be an effective intervention for improving shoulder function in C5-C6 SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Kinematics
  • Scapulohumeral rhythm
  • Shoulder
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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