Upper Limb Analysis

An upper limb analysis looks at the motion of the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand.
The test has several components. All of which provide a comprehensive picture of the various factors contributing to the upper limb disorder.

upper limb analysis test

Upper Limb Analysis Test

Video – The patient is videotaped while performing a variety of upper limb motions, including:

  • Reaching
  • Grasp and release
  • Functional tasks

Electromyography (EMG) – Dynamic EMG can help determine which upper limb muscles act correctly during functional tasks. These tasks may include:

  • Raising the arm 
  • Flexing and extending the elbow and wrist 
  • Grasp and release of objects

Patients will be asked to try to open and close their hand. However, successful completion of the task is not required to obtain muscle activation patterns.
Muscles tested during an EMG include those targeted for tendon transfer or neuromuscular blockade, such as flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis or brachioradialis.

  • A tendon lengthening or transfer moves a tendon to the other side of a joint to improve movement.

  • A neuromuscular blockade temporarily weakens a muscle. This creates an opportunity to increase the muscle’s range of motion which reduces contractures (tight muscles or joints). Botox is a medication often used for the blockade.

Prior to surgery, EMG is used to identify phasic, continuously active, or out-of-phase muscle activity to guide surgery and other medical treatment. Phasic muscles are active at the appropriate times. Out-of-phase muscles are active when they should be inactive.
Kinematics – Kinematics provides a 3-D picture of how the upper limb moves during a functional reach and grasp task. Reflective balls are taped onto the arms, trunk (shoulders to hips) and pelvis. Digital cameras record the balls’ movements to measure joint motion at the trunk, shoulder, elbow and wrist.


Preparing for an Upper Limb Analysis

A typical upper limb analysis lasts approximately 2 hours.

Upper Limb Analysis Report

After the upper limb analysis is completed, your health care provider will receive a:

  • Paper copy of the patient report, including:
    • Test results
    • Treatment recommendations

  • CD that contains:
    • Video
    • Electronic copy of the patient report