Shoulder assessment according to the international classification of functioning

This review investigates current protocols using Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) in shoulder research, and outlines future paths regarding IMU use for shoulder research. Different databases were searched for relevant articles. Criteria for study selection were (1) research in healthy persons or persons with shoulder problems, (2) IMUs applied as assessment tool for the shoulder (in healthy subjects and shoulder patients) or upper limb (in shoulder patients), (3) peer-reviewed, full-text papers in English or Dutch. Studies with less than five participants and without ethical approval were excluded. Data extraction included (1) study design, (2) participant char- acteristics, (3) type/brand of IMU, (4) tasks included in the assessment protocol, and (5) outcomes. Risk of bias was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. Scapulothoracic/glenohumeral and humerothoracic kine- matics were reported in respectively 10 and 27 of the 37 included papers. Only one paper in healthy persons assessed, next to scapulothoracic/glenohumeral kinematics, other upper limb joints. IMUs’ validity and relia- bility to capture shoulder function was limited. Considering applied protocols, 39% of the protocols was located on the International-Classification-of-Functioning (ICF) function level, while 38% and 23% were on the ‘capa- city’ and ‘actual performance’-sublevel, of the ICF-activity level. Most available IMU-research regarding the shoulder is clinically less relevant, given the widely reported humerothoracic kinematics which do not add to clinical-decision-making, and the absence of protocols assessing the complete upper limb chain. Apart from knowledge on methodological pitfalls and opportunities regarding the use of IMUs, this review provides future research paths.

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