Elbow Range of Motion and Clinical Carrying Angle in a Healthy Pediatric Population

Author(s): Golden DW, Jhee JT, Gilpin SP and Sawyer JR

Source: J Pediatr Orthop B 16:144-149.


This study attempts to define the normal elbow range of motion in the pediatric population as well as the carrying angle.  Unbelievably, this information has not been obtained previously.  There are prior studies that assess carrying angle but none have looked at the combination of range of motion and carrying angle.

The cohort consists of 600 elbows and 300 participants.  A total of previous injuries were excluded.  The elbow range of motion was taken with a goniometer and the carrying angle was measured from a clinical landmarks.  Standard data analysis was performed.

Intraobserver reliability was performed with high correlation coefficients.  The total range of motion is presented in a tabular form along with perspective carrying angles.  Interesting, flexion correlated positively with age.  Flexion was greater in girls than boys but it was only a few degrees.  Laterality did not affect flexion.  Extension did not correlate with age or confounding factors.  Carrying angle correlated positively with age with it measuring 12 + 5 in girls and 9 + 4 in boys.  There was some slight difference in carrying angles between right and left arms.  However, this was only a few degrees.

This study shows that elbow range of motion correlates positively with age throughout childhood and adolescents. The authors also noted an age related increase from birth through adolescents in carrying angle that may be related to osseous development of the elbow joint.  The finding of greater carrying angle in girls than boys has been documented in previous studies.  This information produces normative values that could be useful in the clinical setting.  There are some limitations regarding the cross sectional nature of the patients but this information may be useful for the assessment in comparison to pathologic conditions.

Elbow, Pediatric, Carrying, Angle, Motion, Normal

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