Shoulder Joint Biomechanics during ADLs and Reaching Tasks Preoperative and Postoperative Supraspinatus Repair

College of Health Sciences / Occupational Science & Technology


The overall goal of this study is to identify compensatory upper extremity joint motions and muscle recruitment patterns used before repair of a rotator cuff tear and during post-operative recovery employing a novel combination of kinematic analyses, and electromyography (EMG) of the upper extremity during multiple tasks.
While rotator cuff tears are located in the shoulder complex, motion of the wrist, elbow, and trunk may be used to compensate for shoulder limitations stemming from injury. Through the use of motion capture at the UWM Movement Analysis for Biomedical Innovation (Mobility) Lab, kinematics of each of these joints can be assessed simultaneously. This allows for identification of multi-joint motion strategies used while the rotator cuff is injured or recovering. Muscle activation patterns acquired through EMG will be further utilized to identify how patients compensate with a rotator cuff tear.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The student will have a prominent role in patient interaction while assisting with testing patients, including obtaining subject measurements and helping acquire motion analysis and EMG data, through sensor placement, instruction of test subject, and operating data collection computer programs. The student will be responsible for processing motion data using Vicon and Matlab software and working with the research team to interpret the findings. Specifically, the student will determine the shoulder joint angles in all three clinical planes of motion (sagittal, coronal, transverse) during various ADL and reaching tasks, and investigate changes occurring among a pre-operative visit and two post-operative visits (3 and 6 months after surgery). Understanding a subject’s ability or limitations in the completion of these tasks, requiring shoulder stabilization via the rotator cuff muscles, will help identify and interpret compensation strategies and rehabilitation progress.

Desired Qualifications

None listed