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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000 Jul;81(7):978-83.

Manual scapular stabilization: its effect on shoulder rotational range of motion.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



To study the effect of a recently described method of measuring shoulder rotational range of motion in which the scapula is manually stabilized, and to determine the reliability of that technique compared with measurements taken with the scapula unstabilized.


Fifty high school athletes underwent measurement of shoulder rotational range of motion with and without the scapula manually stabilized. Measurements were performed by two groups of physical therapists blinded to the movement results, with repeat measurements performed 5 days later.


Rotational motion measured with the scapula stabilized was significantly less than when it was measured with the scapula unstabilized. Reliability was comparable for the two techniques when measuring external rotation, but the new technique was more reliable for measuring internal rotation.


Scapular stabilization should be used when measuring internal rotation of the shoulder to obtain more accurate measurement of pure glenohumeral rotation. The technique described is promising, but warrants further refinement before it can be recommended for widespread clinical use. With practice, in experienced clinicians' hands, this technique may be the most reliable method for measuring outcome in clinical trials and for following clinically significant rotational motion deficits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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