PT on the Net Research

Client with One Arm


Question:

I have a new client, a 19-year-old male, who has one arm. He lost his right arm at early childhood. As such, he has a number of postural deviations which I have to address, due to obvious one-sided dominance over the years. My question is in regard to developing his shoulder retractors using a standing cable pull pattern....pulling with left arm, right shoulder/trunk rotation involvement. What exercises would be needed/suitable to counter balance the trunk rotation component of the above exercise?

Answer:

It is difficult to answer a question like this that has special considerations without viewing the person. Obviously, the young man has grown to adjust to his situation. His spinal musculature probably has different levels of bone density laced throughout the vertebrae. The hips and shoulders may also be structurally different. This indicates that any adjustments will take time.

Your question focuses on the shoulder girdle. When we talk about the shoulder you can include scapular motion. For this case, all directions should be trained, if possible. There are no set training protocols for these situations. There are several things to try:

Designing a training program for people with special needs is challenging. When trying the suggested exercises, you will probably "spark" some ideas of your own for that particular person. Communication with your client is an integral part for proper progression and limiting any injuries.