Reliability of stiffness measured in glenohumeral joint and its application to assess the effect of end-range mobilization in subjects with adhesive capsulitis

Hui-Ting Lin, Ar-Tyan Hsu, Kai-Nan An, Jia-rea Chang Chien, Ta-Shen Kuan and Guan-Liang Chang

End-range mobilization techniques are recommended for the treatment of patients with hypomobile joints. The purposes of this study were (1) to assess the reliability of a glenohumeral (GH) stiffness measurement technique and (2) apply the measurement technique on subjects with adhesive capsulitis to compare the GH end-range stiffness and rotational range of motions (ROMs) before and immediately after the application of end-range translational mobilization techniques. Fifteen normal subjects were recruited for assessment of test–retest reliability. Four men and two women with adhesive capsulitis in the glenohumeral joint were treated with end-range mobilization by an experienced physical therapist. The passive abduction angles, rotational ROM and GH joint stiffness were measured by the same observer before and immediately after end-range mobilization treatment. The test–retest reliability was assessed and revealed good to excellent reliability in anterior–posterior glenohumeral joint stiffness and fair to excellent reliability of GH stiffness in posterior–anterior direction. The GH joint stiffness decreased and passive abduction range of motion increased immediately after end-range mobilization of the shoulder joint. The use of intensive mobilization techniques may help to decrease the risk of further stiffness or joint contracture progression in patients with adhesive capsulitis.

Manual Therapy, Nov 2007, online article ahead of press

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