A comparison of two non-invasive methods for measuring scapular orientation in functional positions

Elizabeth A. Rapp, R. Tyler Richardson, Stephanie A. Russo, William C. Rose, James G. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Identification of scapular dyskinesis and evaluation of interventions depend on the ability to properly measure scapulothoracic (ST) motion. The most widely used measurement approach is the acromion marker cluster (AMC), which can yield large errors in extreme humeral elevation and can be inaccurate in children and patient populations. Recently, an individualized regression approach has been proposed as an alternative to the AMC. This technique utilizes the relationship between ST orientation, humerothoracic orientation and acromion process position derived from calibration positions to predict dynamic ST orientations from humerothoracic and acromion process measures during motion. These individualized regressions demonstrated promising results for healthy adults; however, this method had not yet been compared to the more conventional AMC. This study compared ST orientation estimates by the AMC and regression approaches to static ST angles determined by surface markers placed on palpated landmarks in typically developing adolescents performing functional tasks. Both approaches produced errors within the range reported in the literature for skin-based scapular measurement techniques. The performance of the regression approach suffered when applied to positions outside of the range of motion in the set of calibration positions. The AMC significantly underestimated ST internal rotation across all positions and overestimated posterior tilt in some positions. Overall, root mean square errors for the regression approach were smaller than the AMC for every position across all axes of ST motion. Accordingly, we recommend the regression approach as a suitable technique for measuring ST kinematics in functional motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Aug 16 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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