There have been no studies investigating three-dimensional (3D) alteration of the coracohumeral distance (CHD) associated with shoulder motion. The aim of this study was to investigate the change of 3D-CHD with the arm in flexion/internal rotation and horizontal adduction. Six intact shoulders of four healthy volunteers were obtained for this study. MRI was taken in four arm positions: with the arm in internal rotation at 0°, 45°, and 90° of flexion, and 90° of flexion with maximum horizontal adduction. Using a motion analysis system, 3D models of the coracoid process and proximal humerus were created from MRI data. The CHD among the four positions were compared, and the closest part of coracoid process to the proximal humerus was also assessed. 3D-CHD significantly decreased with the arm in 90° of flexion and in 90° of flexion with horizontal adduction comparing with that in 0° flexion (P<0.05). In all subjects, lateral part of the coracoid process was the closest to the proximal humerus in these positions. In vivo quasi-static motion analysis revealed that the 3D-CHD was narrower in the arm position of flexion with horizontal abduction than that in 0° flexion. The lateral part on the coracoid process should be considered to be closest to the proximal humerus during the motion.
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