A stochastic analysis of glenoid inclination angle and superior migration of the humeral head

Nicholas G. Flieg, Christopher J. Gatti, Lisa Case Doro, Joseph E. Langenderfer, James E. Carpenter, Richard E. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Superior glenoid inclination, which is a relatively upward facing of the glenoid in the plane of the scapula, has been associated with rotator cuff pathology. Increased glenoid inclination may cause superior humeral head migration, which can cause impingement of the supraspinatus tendon. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that inclination angle affects the probability of superior humeral head migration. Methods: A three-dimensional model of the glenohumeral joint was developed in which muscle forces were modeled as random variables. Monte Carlo simulation was used to compute the probability that the glenohumeral reaction force was directed such that superior humeral head migration should occur. An electromyogram-driven model was used to estimate shoulder muscle forces in healthy volunteers performing arm elevation. Findings: The model predicted that the probability of superior humeral head migration increased as glenoid inclination angle was increased. This finding was independent of the assumed shape of the muscle force probability distributions. Interpretation: The results support the theory that glenoid inclination may be a risk factor for rotator cuff pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-561
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Glenoid
  • Modeling
  • Rotator cuff
  • Shoulder
  • Stochastic


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