Three‐dimensional kinematics of glenohumeral elevation

K. ‐N An, A. O. Browne, S. Korinek, S. Tanaka, B. F. Morrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


To help resolve longstanding uncertainties about kinematics of the shoulder, we studied three‐dimensiona glenohumeral joint motion during arm elevation. A magnetic tracking system was used to monitor the threedimensional orientation of the humerus with respect to the scapula. Appropriate coordinate transformations were then performed for the calculation of glenohumeral joint rotation based on the defined Eulerian angle. The effects of the plane of elevation and the humeral rotation on the magnitude of arm elevation were documented. The maximum humeral elevation at the glenohumeral joint took place in a plane anterior to the scapular plane. Maximum elevation in all planes anterior to the scapular plane required external axial rotation of the humerus. Conversely, internal axial rotation was necessary for maximum elevation posterior to the scapular plane. Quantifying the obligatory axial rotation explains the relationship of internal and external rotation with maximum elevation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991


  • Arm elevation
  • Glenohumeral joint
  • Shoulder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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