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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1994 May;76(5):667-76.

Changes in the moment arms of the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles with abduction and rotation.

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Department of Biomechanics, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, N.Y. 10021.


The behavior of the moment arms of the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles was studied during simple and combine movements of abduction and rotation about the glenohumeral joint. This was done by experimental measurement of excursions of the muscles in an in vitro cadaver model and by use of a multiple-regression analysis to delineate the changes in the moment arms as a function of abduction and rotation. The results demonstrated the potential of some rotator cuff muscles to contribute to both abduction and rotation, the sensitivity of the abductor moment-arm lengths to internal and external rotation and of the rotator moment-arm lengths to the degree of abduction, and the capacity of the abductor moment-arm lengths of the deltoid to increase with increasing abduction. Characterization of this behavior resulted in an increased understanding of the complex role of the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles about the gleno-humeral joint and provided quantitative descriptions of functional relationships. This study demonstrates the capacity of the infraspinatus and subscapularis muscles to contribute not only to external and internal rotation, respectively, but also to elevation of the arm in the plane of the scapula, a role for which these muscles have been given little or no consideration. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the contribution of the infraspinatus to abduction is enhanced with internal rotation while that of the subscapularis is enhanced with external rotation. Thus, dysfunction of the supraspinatus muscle need not preclude good elevation of the arm, and rehabilitation to reprogram and strengthen the remaining muscles becomes an important consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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