A kinematic model of the shoulder complex to evaluate the arm-reachable workspace.

Research paper by N N Klopcar, M M Tomsic, J J Lenarcic

Indexed on: 03 Jan '06Published on: 03 Jan '06Published in: Journal of biomechanics


Upper-arm evaluation including shoulder motion in physiotherapy has no three-dimensional tool for an arm-functioning evaluation, which hampers an uniform, objective comparison. Human shoulder complex models suffer from lack of shoulder girdle kinematic data. A kinematic shoulder-complex model with six degrees of freedom is proposed as the composition of the inner joint representing the shoulder-girdle joints and outer joint representing the glenohumeral joint. The outer shoulder joint has three perpendicular rotations: adduction/abduction, retroflexion/flexion and internal/external rotation of the humerus. The inner shoulder joint has two rotations, depression/elevation and retraction/protraction, and one translation, which are all dependent on the elevation angle of the humerus. The human arm-reachable workspace that represents the area within reach of the wrist is calculated on the basis of the shoulder-complex model and the additional elbow-joint direct kinematics. It was demonstrated that cross-sections of the calculated workspace are in agreement with the measured arm-reachable workspace in all three anatomical planes. The arm-reachable workspace volume and graphics were calculated and a comparison of the arm's workspaces during a patient's shoulder treatment was made. The obtained numerical and graphical arm-reachable workspaces can be used for arm-functioning evaluations in rehabilitation and ergonomics.