Original Research

Pectoralis minor length measurements in three different scapula positions

Muhle A. Komati, Francina E. Korkie, Piet Becker
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 76, No 1 | a1487 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v76i1.1487 | © 2020 Muhle A. Komati, Francina E. Korkie, Piet Becker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 March 2020 | Published: 04 November 2020

About the author(s)

Muhle A. Komati, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Francina E. Korkie, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Piet Becker, Department of Biostatistics, Research Office, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The pectoralis minor (PM) muscle is commonly regarded as a contributor to abnormal scapula positioning. Subsequently, the muscle length of the scapular stabilising muscles may be affected, as these muscles assume a lengthened position, which over time causes weakness. There are inconsistencies regarding PM muscle length values because of the different techniques and positions used when the length of the PM muscle is measured.

Objective: To determine the PM muscle length in participants aged 18−24 using a Vernier® caliper and expressed as pectoralis minor index (PMI), with the scapula in three different positions.

Method: The PM muscle length of 144 participants was measured with a Vernier® caliper (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.83−0.87). Measurements were made with the scapula in the resting position, in an active and a passive posterior tilt position.

Results: Significant differences were observed in PMI between the resting scapula position – 10.04 (confidence interval, CI 9.93–10.14) and active posterior tilt – 10.19 (CI 10.09–10.30) (p < 0.001); the resting position – 10.04 (CI 9.93–10.14) and passive posterior tilt – 10.77 (10.66–10.87) (p < 0.001) and active – 10.19 (CI 10.09–10.30) and passive posterior tilt 10.77 (10.66–10.87) (p < 0.001). The dominant side had lower PMI values than the non-dominant side.

Conclusion: The significant differences between the active and posterior tilt positions suggested that optimal muscle length of PM was affected by the inner range strength of the lower fibres of Trapezius.

Clinical implications: It is important that in clinical practice not only the length of PM in scapular misalignment but also the strength of the antagonistic muscles is considered.


Keywords

resting scapula; Pectoralis and Minor muscle; pectoralis minor index; Trapezius muscles; length measurements

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