Examination of Complex Movements

A definition of complex movements of the shoulder girdle

Complex movements of the shoulder girdle are movements of the whole girdle during which all its components are involved (see anatomical construction of the shoulder girdle).


Meaning of complex movements of the shoulder girdle

All the components of the shoulder girdle co-operate on complex movements. A physiological movement is made possible due to a perfect co-operation of all the structures.

If we find one of the following disorders during the examination of complex movement:

a restriction of an extension of complex movements

a pain during complex movements

then the affection can concern any structure participating in the complex movements. At a finding of these symptoms we are not able to determine which structure it deals in the whole chain with, but on the other hand, a normal finding during the examination of complex movements eliminates an affection of the shoulder girdle.

Complex movements of the shoulder girdle do not evoke pains at affections rising out of the cervical spine, and pseudoradicular syndrome with a transmitted pains from thoracic or intra-abdominal organs.


Indolent complex movements with a normal extension of the movement, and without any mark of a weakness of the carrying out movement, which are done with a physiological gracefulness, eliminate pathology of the whole shoulder girdle.


We have to stress a big ability of a substitution of a damaged articular function, or a muscular component in the area of the shoulder girdle by involving in of the remaining parts. At pathological states of the glenohumeral articulation is f. e. a full extension of the complex movements of the shoulder girdle is made possible by a synkinesis of the scapula. Therefore it is not enough to watch only the big restriction of the extension of the complex movements, but also the gracefulness of the movement, and above all we have to orient on the pain as the first symptom of the affection of the shoulder girdle. Because most inflammatory affections affect structures surrounding the glenohumeral articulation, for a diagnosis of these affections we have to examine the extensions of the isolated movement in the glenohumeral articulation, and not only the extensions of the complex movements which are not able to describe exactly the size of the affection, and closely specify a place of the disorder.



Painful arc

Types of Complex Movements