Fatigue and Recovery in the Shoulder Complex While Performing Simulated Repetitive Work

The shoulder complex affords multiple opportunities for kinematic and muscular variability during repetitive work, which could change physical exposure and risk at work. The purpose of this study was to examine kinematic and muscular adaptations during continued performance of submaximal, repetitive work following a fatiguing protocol. Participants (n=12) completed a sequence of three protocols: (1) 20 pre-fatigue work cycles, (2) anterior deltoid fatigue protocol, (3) 60 post-fatigue work cycles. Each work cycle was 60 seconds and consisted of 4 tasks. Reaction forces and moments were recorded with a 6DOF force sensor (MC3-500, AMTI, Watertown, MA, USA) during the work tasks. The fatigue protocol consisted of static and dynamic efforts targeting the anterior deltoid. Fatigue was quantified through changes in strength, RPE and EMG frequency and amplitude. Activity of 14 muscles of the upper extremity and torso were measured with surface electrodes and kinematics were tracked with a passive motion capture system, 30 reflective markers and a scapular tracker. Immediately following the fatigue protocol, there were significant signs of muscle fatigue and reduced physical capacity. These changes were accompanied by significant muscular and kinematic adaptations in the work tasks during the post-fatigue work cycles (p<.05). Although these adaptations allowed for recovery in some muscles, fatigue persisted and developed in other muscles by the end of the post-fatigue work cycles, despite subjective ratings of perceived exertions returning to pre-fatigue levels. If people are unable to perceive negative behavioral changes during repetitive work, they may be at greater risk of developing workplace injuries.
Listed In: Biomechanics