Inertia based functional scoring of the shoulder in clinical practice

R. J.P. Körver*, I. C. Heyligers, S. K. Samijo, B. Grimm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Shoulder-related dysfunction is the second most common musculoskeletal disorder and is responsible for an increasing burden on health-care systems. Commonly used clinical outcome scores suffer from subjectivity, pain dominance and a ceiling effect. Objective functional measurement has been identified as a relevant issue in clinical rehabilitation. In recognition of this goal simple techniques for routine clinical application have been investigated with some success. Inertia based motion analysis (IMA) is a new generation of objective outcome assessment tool; it can produce objective movement parameters while being fast, cheap and easy to operate. This study investigates if a simple IMA shoulder test is suitable as a functional outcome measure for routine clinical follow-up. We measured 100 healthy subjects and 50 patients with confirmed unilateral shoulder pathology. Two motion tasks were performed on both shoulders and two simple motion parameters based on angular rate and acceleration were calculated. Patients were also assessed by the disability of arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) and the simple shoulder test. IMA produced high intra- (ICC = 0.94) and inter-assessor reliability (ICC = 0.90). Asymmetry was >3 times higher in patients than in healthy controls (p < 0.01). Healthy and pathological subjects could be distinguished with high diagnostic sensitivity (>84.0%) and specificity (>81.0%). There was a weak correlation between the IMA shoulder score and the clinical questionnaires (Pearson R < 0.25), as it may add an objective functional dimension to outcome assessment. The fast assessment (t < 5 min) of a simple motion task makes it workable for routine clinical follow-up. The IMA shoulder test adds objective information on functional capacity to the clinical scores and may help the physician in his decision-making, follow-up of treatment, effect of training and possibly lead to the development of new therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical scores
  • Clinical validation
  • Diagnostic power
  • Healthy reference data
  • Inertia sensors
  • Outcome assessment
  • Shoulder


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