© 2011 Orthopaedic Research Society Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 29:1850–1858, 2011

Muscle and joint‐contact loading at the glenohumeral joint after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

David C. Ackland Sasha Roshan‐Zamir Martin Richardson Marcus G. Pandy

The purposes of this study were to determine the contributions of each shoulder muscle to glenohumeral joint force during abduction and flexion in both the anatomical and post‐operative shoulder and to identify factors that may contribute to the incidence of glenoid component loosening/failure and joint instability in the shoulder after reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA). Eight cadaveric upper extremities were mounted onto a testing apparatus. Muscle lines of action were measured, and muscle forces and muscle contributions to glenohumeral joint forces were determined during abduction and flexion of the pre‐operative anatomical shoulder and of the shoulder after arthroplasty. Muscle forces in the middle deltoid during abduction and those in the middle and anterior deltoid during flexion were significantly lower in the reverse shoulder than the pre‐operative shoulder (p < 0.017). The resultant glenohumeral joint force in the reverse shoulder was significantly lower than that in the pre‐operative shoulder; however, the superior shear force acting at the glenohumeral joint was significantly higher (p < 0.001). Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty reduces muscle effort in performing lifting and pushing tasks; however, reduced joint compressive force has the potential to compromise joint stability, while an increased superior joint shear force may contribute to component loosening/failure. Because greater superior shear force is generated in flexion than in abduction, care should be taken to avoid excessive shoulder loading in this plane of elevation.

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