The entire rotator cuff contributes to elevation of the arm

Journal of Orthopaedic Research : Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society
N A SharkeyP B Hanson

Abstract

The function of the infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis during elevation of the arm remains poorly defined. These muscles may generate moments that contribute to abduction of the arm, although they frequently are classified as humeral depressors. The purposes of this study were to measure the contributions to abduction made by the more inferiorly positioned rotator cuff muscles relative to the contributions of the supraspinatus and to determine the range of motion at which the muscles are most effective. Five fresh cadaveric shoulder girdles were mounted in an apparatus designed to simulate contraction of the deltoid and rotator cuff while maintaining the normal relationship between glenohumeral and scapulothoracic motions. The deltoid force required for elevation was measured without simulated contraction of the rotator cuff and with simulated contraction of the entire rotator cuff, of the supraspinatus only, and of the infraspinatus-teres minor and subscapularis only. A significant reduction in deltoid force when other muscle activity was added indicated that the additions contributed significantly to abduction. The deltoid force required with concurrent contraction of the entire rotator cuff averaged 41% less than ...Continue Reading

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