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Does the Application of a Lycra Arm Sleeve Change Shoulder Biomechanics in Young Healthy People? A Mechanistic Study

Kumar, Praveen, PhD, MSc, PG Cert (HE), MCSP, MIAP, MSPA; Desai, Ashni, BSc Physiotherapy; Elliot, Lottie, BSc Physiotherapy

JPO: Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics: March 13, 2019 - Volume Online First - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/JPO.0000000000000265
Original Research Article: PDF Only

Introduction Glenohumeral subluxation (GHS) is commonly reported in people with stroke. Lycra sleeves provide a compressive and supportive effect, influencing the neuromuscular activity in the affected body segment. A recent study reported reduction in GHS (acromion-greater tuberosity [AGT] distance) after application of Lycra arm sleeve; however, its mechanism on the shoulder region as a whole is unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate if application of a Lycra sleeve changes the AGT distance, muscle activity around the shoulder region, and scapular position.

Methods Healthy participants aged older than 18 years were recruited. Measurements were taken before and immediately after application of the sleeve. Portable diagnostic ultrasound, surface electromyography, and a tape measure were used to measure AGT distance, muscle activity (biceps, triceps, deltoid, and supraspinatus), and position of the scapula, respectively.

Results Thirty-one participants (11 men, 20 women) with mean age 25 ± 10 years participated. Paired test showed significant mean reduction of 0.12 cm (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07–0.16 cm) in AGT distance measurements (t = 5.112, df = 30, P = 0.003) and scapula measurements (0.3 cm; 95% CI, 0.04–0.4 cm; t = 2.501; df = 30, P < 0.01) when compared without and with sleeve application.

Conclusions Future research should investigate the effects of the Lycra sleeve on people with GHS in the different phases of rehabilitation.

PRAVEEN KUMAR, PhD, MSc, PG Cert (HE), MCSP, MIAP, MSPA; ASHNI DESAI, BSc Physiotherapy; and LOTTIE ELLIOT, BSc Physiotherapy, are affiliated with the Department of Allied Health Professions, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article.

Correspondence to: Praveen Kumar, PhD, MSc, PG Cert (HE), MCSP, MIAP, MSPA, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of England, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD, United Kingdom; email:

© 2019 by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.