Scapular kinematics are important indicators of dyskinesis, often suggesting underlying shoulder pathology, but the influence of sex is unknown. This study’s objective was to examine scapular kinematics in healthy males and females. Positions of surface-mounted reflective markers were tracked during arm elevation movements in 0°/30°/40°/60°/90°/120° planes. Scapulothoracic rotations (protraction/retraction, medial/lateral rotation, posterior/anterior tilt) were calculated. ANOVA analysis evaluated main and interaction effects of sex, plane, phase, and elevation angle. Males and females had similar protraction/retraction and medial/lateral rotation kinematics; mean sex-related peak angle differences were 2.5°, 1.8° (raise [concentric]), respectively, and 2.9°, 2.7° (lower [eccentric]), respectively. Largest sex differences for mean peak angle occurred for posterior/anterior tilt at higher elevation angles (raise, 8.4°; lower, 8.5°). Elevation, plane, and phase were main effects for all scapular rotations (P < .001). Sex was not a main effect for any rotations. Sex × elevation interactions influenced protraction/retraction (P < .001) and posterior/anterior tilt (P < .001). Sex × plane (P ≤ .01) and sex × phase (P ≤ .002) interactions influenced all rotations. Lower posterior tilt for females compared to males at higher elevation angles could relate to higher female shoulder pathology incidence. Sex, plane, and phase are necessary components of uninjured scapular kinematics. Sex-specific differences provide insight into potential shoulder pathology etiology. These data provide a benchmark to assess pathological populations.
Picco and Dickerson are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON. Vidt is with the Depts of Biomedical Engineering and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.