What Does Flexion of the Shoulder Mean?
Flexion of the shoulder is an anatomical term of motion that refers to the rotation of the shoulder so that the arm is moved forward or up. During flexion, the bones of the arm remain straight, and motion takes place at the shoulder joint. This movement is sometimes called forward flexion of the shoulder or just shoulder flexion. Repetitive flexion of the shoulder or improper posture during flexion of the shoulder can increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury at work. Flexion of the shoulder can also be called shoulder flexion or forward flexion of the shoulder.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Flexion of the Shoulder
In most instances, flexion refers to a bending motion that reduces the angle between two bones, such as bending the elbow. However, when referencing the movements of the shoulder, flexion refers to the forward movement of the arm while held in a straight position. In other words, flexion of the shoulder is the action of "swinging" the arm forward in an arc.
The action of lifting the arm perpendicular to, or away from, the body is referred to as horizontal flexion. A person with no impairment should be able to flex the shoulder 180 degrees, moving the arm above his or her head. The primary muscles used to execute flexion of the shoulder are the pectoralis major muscle of the chest, the anterior deltoid muscle on top of the shoulder, the biceps brachii muscle (long head) of the arm, the coracobrachialis muscle found at the shoulder blade, the teres major muscle, and the subscapularis muscle.
Flexion of the shoulder may be impaired by conditions such a frozen shoulder or rotator cuff injuries. In the workplace, poor posture, improper lifting techniques, static position, or awkward posture during exertion may contribute to injuries that impair the shoulder's flexion range of motion.