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Measurement of scapula upward rotation: a reliable clinical procedure
  1. L Watson1,
  2. S M Balster1,
  3. C Finch2,
  4. R Dalziel3
  1. 1LifeCare, Prahran Sports Medicine Centre, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Melbourne Orthopaedic Group, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms Watson
 Lifecare Prahran Sports Medicine Centre, Level 1, 316 Malvern Road, Prahran, Victoria 3181, Australia;


Background: It is important to deal with the scapula when developing rehabilitation strategies for the shoulder complex. This requires clinical measurement tools that are readily available and easy to apply and which provide a reliable evaluation of scapula motion.

Aim: To determine the reliability of the Plurimeter-V gravity inclinometer for the measurement of scapular upward rotation positions during humeral elevation in coronal abduction in a group of patients with shoulder pathology.

Method: Twenty six patients were assessed in two repeat tests within a single testing session. Patients exhibiting a wide spectrum of shoulder pathology were selected. The angle of scapular upward rotation was measured during total shoulder abduction. The measurement protocol was performed twice during a single testing session by a single tester. Results of the two tests were compared and the reliability assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).

Results: There was no significant difference in the scapula measurements taken during the two tests at each testing position. Overall, there was very good intrarater reliability (ICC  =  0.88). The ICC ranged from 0.81 (at 135°) to 0.94 (at both resting and end of total shoulder abduction range).

Conclusion: The Plurimeter-V gravity inclinometer can be used effectively and reliably for measuring upward rotation of the scapula in all ranges of shoulder abduction in the coronal plane.

  • ICC, intraclass correlation coefficient
  • TSA, total shoulder abduction
  • assessment
  • motion
  • scapula asymmetry
  • shoulder
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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • Permission has been obtained from the patient for the publication of fig 1.

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