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J Biomech. 2000 Sep;33(9):1063-8.

Scapular kinematics: effects of altering the Euler angle sequence of rotations.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Biomechanics Laboratory, MCP Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


An analysis of Euler angle sequences is presented for the scapula. In vivo kinematics were collected with a magnetic tracking device on eight healthy volunteers. To ensure accurate representation of scapular motion, pins were rigidly drilled into the scapular spine. Three rotations of the scapula with respect to the thorax were recorded during humeral elevation in the scapular plane: posterior (or backward) tilting, upward (or lateral) rotation and external rotation (or retraction). Rotations using all six possible Euler angle sequences were calculated for which each angle was represented only once. The sequence proposed by an International Society of Biomechanics subcommittee on shoulder motion (external rotation, upward rotation, posterior tilting) is consistent with both research- and clinical-based two-dimensional representations of scapular motion. Results from the present study indicate that changing sequence results in significant alterations in the description of motion, with differences up to 50 degrees noted for some angles. Therefore, in order to compare results across different laboratories, it is recommended that the proposed standard sequence be adopted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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