Effects of gleno-humeral joint centre mislocation on gleno-humeral kinematics and kinetics

The gleno-humeral (GH) rotation centre is typically estimated using predictive or functional methods, however these methods may lead to location errors. This study aimed at determining a location error threshold above which statistically significant changes in the values of kinematic and kinetic GH parameters occur. The secondary aims were to quantify the effects of the direction of mislocation (X, Y or Z axis) of the GH rotation centre on GH kinematic and kinetic parameters.

Shoulder flexion and abduction movements of 11 healthy volunteers were recorded using a standard motion capture system (Vicon, Oxford Metrics Ltd, Oxford, UK), then GH kinematic and kinetic parameters were computed. The true position of the GH rotation centre was determined using a low dose x-ray scanner (EOS™ imaging, France) and this position was transferred to the motion data. GH angles and moments were re-computed for each position of the GH rotation centre after errors of up to ± 20 mm were added in increments of ± 5 mm to each axis. The three-dimensional error range was 5 mm to 34.65 mm.

GH joint angle and moment values were significantly altered from 10 mm of three-dimensional error, and from 5 mm of error on individual axes. However, errors on the longitudinal and antero-posterior axes only caused very small alterations of GH joint angle and moment values respectively. Future research should develop methods of GH rotation centre estimation that produce three-dimensional location errors of less than 10 mm to reduce error propagation on GH kinematics and kinetics.