Open Access Research article

Motion patterns in activities of daily living: 3- year longitudinal follow-up after total shoulder arthroplasty using an optical 3D motion analysis system

Michael W Maier1*, Mirjam Niklasch1, Thomas Dreher1, Felix Zeifang1, Oliver Rettig1, Matthias C Klotz1, Sebastian I Wolf1 and Philip Kasten2

Author Affiliations

1 Clinic for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Heidelberg University Hospital, Schlierbacher Landstrasse 200a, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany

2 Orthopaedic Surgery Center (OCC) Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:244  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-244

Published: 21 July 2014



Total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) can improve function in osteoarthritic shoulders, but the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) can still remain impaired. Routinely, shoulder surgeons measure range of motion (ROM) using a goniometer. Objective data are limited, however, concerning functional three-dimensional changes in ROM in ADLs after TSA in patients with degenerative glenohumeral osteoarthritis.


This study included ten consecutive patients, who received TSA for primary glenohumeral osteoarthritis. The patients were examined the day before, 6 months, and 3 years after shoulder replacement as well. We compared them with a control group (n = 10) without any shoulder pathology and measured shoulder movement by 3D motion analysis using a novel 3 D model. The measurement included static maximum values, the ability to perform and the ROM of the ADLs “combing the hair”, “washing the opposite armpit”, “tying an apron”, and “taking a book from a shelf”.


Six months after surgery, almost all TSA patients were able to perform the four ADLs (3 out of 40 tasks could not be performed by the 10 patients); 3 years postoperatively all patients were able to carry out all ADLs (40 out of 40 tasks possible). In performing the ADLs, comparison of the pre- with the 6-month and 3-year postoperative status of the TSA group showed that the subjects did not fully use the available maximum flexion/extension ROM in performing the four ADLs. The ROM used for flexion/extension did not change significantly (preoperatively 135°-0° -34° vs. 3 years postoperatively 131° -0° -53°). For abduction/adduction, ROM improved significantly from 33°-0° -27° preoperatively to 76° -0° -35° postoperatively. Compared to the controls (118°) the TSA group used less ROM for abduction to perform the four ADLs 3 years postoperatively.


TSA improves the ability to perform ADL and the individual ROM in ADLs in patients with degenerative glenohumeral osteoarthritis over the course of 3 years. However, TSA patients do not use their maximum available abduction ROM in performing ADLs. This is not related to limitations in active ROM, but rather may be caused by pathologic motion patterns, impaired proprioception or both.

Total shoulder arthroplasty; Shoulder osteoarthritis; Activity of daily living; Outcome; 3D motion analysis; Upper extremity; HUX model; Biomechanic model