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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2001 Feb;16(2):138-43.

Dynamic inferior stabilizers of the shoulder joint.

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Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Mayo Clinic/Mayo Foundation, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN, USA.



The glenohumeral joint is soft-tissue balanced. However, few studies have focused on its dynamic inferior stabilizers.


The objective of this study was to investigate the dynamic contributions of five shoulder muscles to inferior stability of the glenohumeral articulation in four joint positions.


The anterior, lateral and posterior deltoid, supraspinatus, short head of biceps, coracobrachialis and long head of triceps from ten cadaveric shoulders were tested in 0 degrees, 30 degrees, 60 degrees and 90 degrees of glenohumeral abduction. A constant inferior force of 15 N was applied to the humerus. The tendons were loaded sequentially in proportion to their respective muscle's cross-sectional area. Translations of the humeral head on the glenoid were recorded with a 3-Space tracking device.


The lateral deltoid (8.2 mm, SD 4.8 mm) was potentially most effective in superior translation of the humeral head followed by the posterior deltoid (7.7 mm, SD 4.8 mm). The coracobrachialis and short head of biceps had considerable capability to translate the humeral head superiorly (2.8 mm, SD 1.3 mm) while the supraspinatus showed the weakest effects (1.3 mm, SD 0.5 mm).


Strengthening exercises of the deltoid may be useful in the treatment of inferior glenohumeral instability, while the supraspinatus seems to be less important for inferior glenohumeral stability than previously assumed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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