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To use elbow range of motion routinely as a diagnostic index, it is important to explain the normal variability among the population. Consequently, this study assessed the possible associations between age, sex, laterality, body mass index, joint laxity, level of physical activities, upper limb dimensions, and the elbow range of motion in flexion/extension. Maximal flexion and extension were measured on the lateral radiographs of 102 elbows of 51 volunteers. The difference of range of motion regarding sex and laterality was assessed with Student t tests. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the relationship between elbow mobility and the other factors, and a stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed. Among the 51 volunteers, a correlation was found between flexion and body mass index, age, and midbrachial and forearm circumferences (r = -0.234 to -0.594). Age (r = 0.268) and hyperlaxity (r = -0.323) were the only factors associated with a change in elbow extension. No correlation was found between the level of physical activity or with the laterality and changes in elbow mobility. Finally, women presented with more flexion and total elbow range of motion than men. This study confirms the association between various demographic and anthropometric factors and elbow range of motion in healthy adults. Among these, the body mass index and forearm circumference are the most likely responsible for mobility variations among the population. Copyright © 2013 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


Julien Chapleau, Fanny Canet, Yvan Petit, Emilie Sandman, G-Yves Laflamme, Dominique M Rouleau. Demographic and anthropometric factors affecting elbow range of motion in healthy adults. Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons ... [et al.]. 2013 Jan;22(1):88-93

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PMID: 22947233

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