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Hip and Shoulder Goniometry


Jimmy Cooney

The tension and arrangement of the muscles around the hip and shoulder gives the stability needed to hold the bones together and provide the flexibility that allows movement to occur. The hip has a deep socket with strong surrounding ligaments and muscles, while the shoulder has shallow sockets with fewer ligaments and weaker muscles. If the muscles and ligaments are weak from misuse, the stability of the joint is reduced thus effecting their ability to function adequately. Range of motion (ROM) is related to joint stability, often determined by the laxity of the surrounding ligaments and muscles. “The arrangement and relative laxity and or extensibility of tendons, ligaments and muscles are some of the factors of ROM.” (Susan J. Hall) One of the instruments to measure ROM is the goniometer. Goniometer is used to determine the joint position relative to a set point and the total amount of motion available at a joint. The measurements are obtained by placing the goniometer along the proximal and distal bones adjacent to the joint being measured. The following study is comparing the hip and shoulder of both genders.


This study involved forty-five college men and women of varying ages, ethnic groups, and athletic background. All the subjects were paired up with a partner and did the measurements themselves during their allotted lab times. The following were the joints angles that were measured using the goniometer: shoulder abduction, shoulder hyperextension, shoulder flexion, shoulder lateral rotation, shoulder medial rotation, hip abduction, hip hyperextension, hip flexion, hip lateral rotation, hip medial rotation. In the measurements that was recorded, human error and past injuries would influence the data. This is why .002 (alpha number) is going to be calculated in with the data. Dependent t-test, independent t-test, mean and standard deviation are the following statistical analysis that is used in the following study.


First Study

In studying the first graph it is obvious that the hip and shoulder function in

radically different ways. This can be noted in the total lack of similarities in the measurements.

Second Study

When comparing the data, the differences in the range of motion between the hip and shoulder became very apparent. This can be attributed to the differences in layout of the joints. The shoulder is shown to be more flexible by a significant amount in almost every measurement due to it shallow socket and fewer ligaments. The difference in the range of motion due to functional differences is apparent in the similar graphs between males and females and is not the product of physiologic differences between genders. See Graphs Two and Three.

Third Study

Refer to Graph 4 for the comparison of the male and female in the shoulder. The females showed a little more laxity in the shoulders than the males, but the males were above average by a significant amount in the shoulder flexion.

Fifth Graph

This chart proves that because of the deep socket and the strong surrounding ligaments and muscles in the hip it is a design limitation rather than a gender bias that reduces flexibility.


The study supports the fact that because our hips helps supports and balance the rest of our body, it has to have stronger ligaments and muscles that surround the joint to give it the necessary support to hold us up. This is substantiated by a T-Test result of .0001606 in the comparison of hip flexion to shoulder flexion in men and a result of 1.718E-05 in women. And because it gives us the necessary support to allow us to do the simple task of walking, it gives up a little laxity as compare to the shoulder, which has a greater range of motion. Two-thirds of the class were unable to get to the reference point of the measurements for both, hip and shoulder. This could be from lack of exercising and stretching, or age. Only four of the measurements proved to be significant out of the twenty-five T-tests taken. “Factors that influence joint mobility would be intervening muscles, the arrangement of muscles and ligaments, the shape of the articulating surfaces and the relatively laxity of the muscles and ligaments.”(Susan J. Hall) The tasks that the shoulders perform require greater range of motion as compared to the hip, which is limited to the simple task of locomotion. These results are substantiated by the measurements that were acquired in this study.

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