Gender difference of shoulder-pelvic kinematic integration for trunk rotation directions in healthy older adults

  • Paul S. Sung
    Corresponding author at: Department of Physical Therapy, Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, Central Michigan University, Health Professions Building 1220, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859, United States.
    Department of Physical Therapy, Central Michigan University, Health Professions Building 1220, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859, United States
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  • Pamela Danial
    Department of Physical Therapy, Central Michigan University, Health Professions Building 1220, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859, United States
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      • The ageing factor was negatively correlated with shoulder and pelvic range of motion.
      • The female group demonstrated less pelvic rotation in the right to left rotation phase.
      • The directional asymmetry of trunk rotation in the female group needs to be considered.



      The trunk coordination pattern has been extensively studied, and there is a higher pain prevalence and asymmetry in female older adults. However, there is a lack of investigation of different directions of trunk rotation and asymmetrical compensatory strategies of motor control between genders. The purpose of this study was to investigate shoulder and pelvic ranges of motion (ROM) as well as relative phases (RP) for the different directions of trunk rotation between genders in healthy older adults.


      There were 62 right hand dominant older adults in this study (31 female subjects (68.4 [5.62] years) and 31 male subjects (68.7 [5.68] years)). The participants performed trunk axial rotation from the left to the right direction (RP1) and then returned to the left side (RP2), three times repeatedly in standing. The measurements included shoulder and pelvic ROM, RP1, and RP2. The RP was defined as the average absolute relative phase, which was the difference between the phase angle of the shoulder and the phase angle of the pelvis during trunk rotation.


      The female group demonstrated significantly greater pelvic rotation compared to the male group (98.64 [24.67] vs. 86.96 [18.97]; t = 2.09, p = 0.04) during trunk rotation. The pelvic ROM demonstrated a significant positive correlation with shoulder ROM in both genders; however, the RP was negatively correlated with the pelvis. For pelvic rotation, the male group demonstrated a negative correlation with RP1 (r = −0.68, p < 0.01) and RP2 (r = −0.60, p < 0.01) while the female group demonstrated a negative correlation with RP2 (r = −0.53, p < 0.01). The ageing factor demonstrated negative correlations with ROM for the shoulder and pelvis in both genders.


      Although no gender difference was indicated on the direction of RP, the pelvic ROM was significantly lesser in the male group. The male group demonstrated lesser pelvic rotation in both directions of rotation; however, the female group showed lesser pelvic rotation in RP2. The male group demonstrated stiffened pelvic rotation and greater shoulder rotation in both directions while the female group demonstrated pelvic stiffness only in the direction from right to left rotation. Clinicians need to consider this directional asymmetry of trunk rotation to enhance integrated shoulder-pelvic coordination in female older adults.

      Mini abstract

      A coordinative pattern of different directions of trunk rotation was investigated in healthy older adults. The pelvic range of motion was lesser in the male group compared with the female group. The female group demonstrated pelvic stiffness only in the direction from right to left rotation, while the male group demonstrated pelvic stiffness in both directions. Clinicians need to understand the gender difference of directional coordination as integrated coordination in female older adults.


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