Collecting shoulder kinematics with electromagnetic tracking systems and digital inclinometers: A review

Daniel C. Hannah, Jason S. Scibek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The shoulder complex presents unique challenges for measuring motion as the scapula, unlike any other bony segment in the body, glides and rotates underneath layers of soft tissue and skin. The ability for clinicians and researchers to collect meaningful kinematic data is dependent on the reliability and validity of the instrumentation utilized. The aim of this study was to review the relevant literature pertaining to the reliability and validity of electromagnetic tracking systems (ETS) and digital inclinometers for assessing shoulder complex motion. Advances in technology have led to the development of biomechanical instrumentation, like ETS, that allow for the collection of three-dimensional kinematic data. The existing evidence has demonstrated that ETS are reliable and valid instruments for collecting static and dynamic kinematic data of the shoulder complex. Similarly, digital inclinometers have become increasingly popular among clinicians due to their cost effectiveness and practical use in the clinical setting. The existing evidence supports the use of digital inclinometers for the collection of shoulder complex kinematics as these instruments have been demonstrated to yield acceptable reliability and validity. While digital inclinometers pose a disadvantage to ETS regarding accuracy, precision, and are limited to two-dimensional and static measurements, this instrument provides clinically meaningful data that allow clinicians and researchers the ability to measure, monitor, and compare shoulder complex kinematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-794
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Journal of Orthopedics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Glenohumeral
  • Kinematics
  • Reliability
  • Scapulothoracic
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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