Abstract

Accurate measurement of shoulder motion is critical in assessing impairment following shoulder disorders. To this end, measuring and recording joint motion are important steps in diagnosing, determining the severity and progression of a disorder, assessing the results of treatment, and evaluating impairment. Shoulder movement usually is composite rather than in a single plane, so isolating single movements is challenging. Universal goniometers with long arms are used to measure shoulder motion, and testing must be performed and recorded consistently. Passive motion may be carried out cautiously by the examiner; two measurements of the same patient by the same examiner should lie within 10° of each other. Shoulder extension and flexion are illustrated. Maximal flexion of the shoulder also includes slight external rotation and abduction, and controlling or eliminating these components during evaluation is challenging. Abduction and adduction are illustrated. Deficits in external rotation may occur in patients who have undergone reconstructive procedures with an anterior approach; deficits in internal rotation may result from issues with shoulder instability. The authors recommend recording the shoulder's range of motion measurements according to the Upper Extremity Impairment Evaluation Record in the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fourth Edition.

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