Video – Scapulohumeral Rhythm

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Scapulohumeral Rhythm

This video will present an assessment for “scapulohumeral rhythm”.  Scapulohumeral rhythm is the coordinated movement of the scapula across the thoracic cage, called a scapulothoracic movement, together with the movement of the humerus to the glenoid, or glenohumeral movement. Correct scapulohumeral rhythm is required to achieve full upper limb elevation.

Scapular superior rotation upon the thorax tilts the glenoid fossa upwards. This change in its orientation accentuates the movement occurring at the glenohumeral joint. This coordinated movement occurs in a predictable fashion and any disturbance to this pattern is evidence of muscular or joint dysfunction.  Generally, in the first 30 degrees of shoulder abduction, the scapula remains stationary against the rib cage with the movement occurring only at the glenohumeral joint.

As shoulder abduction continues, the inferior angle of the scapula begins to shift outwards as it undergoes superior rotation. On average, there is approximately 2 degrees of glenohumeral movement for every 1 degree of scapulothoracic movement, from this point.  This means that as the upper extremity moves on through abduction to 90 degrees, the glenohumeral joint contributes 40 degrees for a total of 70, while the scapulothoracic joint has only contributed 20.

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