For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD

My primary research interest is secondary conditions in persons with chronic impairments and activity and participation limitations. This research has strongly relied on biomechanical analyses of human dynamics in functional activities and translating scientific innovation into clinical practice. My research on secondary conditions focuses on upper extremity function with an emphasis on musculoskeletal pain in individuals who use a manual wheelchair for community mobility as well as persons with chronic neuromuscular conditions. My current research is funded by the Department of Defense and employs a biopsychosocial approach to musculoskeletal pain in individuals with spinal cord injury. The long term objective of my research is the identification of physical and cognitive-behavioral factors associated with development of musculoskeletal pain and the progression from acute to chronic musculoskeletal pain. Ultimately this work will lead to the development of a biopsychosocial prospective surveillance model, an approach that promotes early detection, intervention, and prevention of these factors.

Lab - Motion Analysis & Biomechanical Analysis Labs

Principal Investigator

Margaret Finley, PT, PhD

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD
Associate Professor - Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
View Faculty Profile

Doctoral Students

  • PhD Student: Elizabeth Euiler, MS

Research Collaborations

CNHP: Rehabilitation in Human Applied Biomechanics (ReHAB)

  • Dave Ebaugh, PT, PhD
  • Sheri Silfies, PT, PhD
  • Clare Milner, PhD

Development of a Biopsychosocial Prospective Surveillance Model of Shoulder Pain in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury

This Department of Defense funded SCIRP study (Award W81XWH-17-1-0476) will investigate the progression of musculoskeletal and psychosocial impairments for the first year following SCI, starting with inpatient rehabilitation, at six months and at one year following SCI. Our research will be performed at two facilities: Drexel University (in collaboration with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital) and the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute. 

We will identify sources of biopsychosocial shoulder pain to establish effective physical and cognitive-behavioral treatment to prevent loss of function and independence in individuals with SCI who depend on their arms for activities of daily living, transfers and wheelchair propulsion. Early identification of problem areas may provide a method to refer a patient for treatment or to change ongoing intervention. Development of a biopsychosocial prospective surveillance model will provide a proactive approach to reduce the debilitating consequences of activity limitations and participation restrictions in individuals with SCI, reducing the burden currently experienced by military service members, veterans and their families and caregivers.
Role: Principal Investigator

Factors Associated with Shoulder Pain in Manual Wheelchair Users with Spinal Cord Injury

Early onset of shoulder pain in manual wheelchair users is predictive of persistent long-term shoulder pain. Chronic rotator cuff disease, with resultant subacromial impingement syndrome, and chronic inflammatory conditions are the most common health conditions associated with shoulder pain in this population. Development of rotator cuff disease is multifactorial and includes intrinsic, extrinsic and overuse factors. The aims of this project are: 1) to compare neuromusculoskeletal factors associated with shoulder pain across groups of varied duration of injury and wheelchair use; 2) to identify neuromusculoskeletal factors that are predictive of shoulder pain in manual wheelchair users with SCI, across three different time intervals. Our hypothesis is that specific neuromusculoskeletal impairments will be predictive of shoulder pain at various time points following a spinal cord injury.

Association of Psychosocial Factors to Musculoskeletal Pain in Manual Wheelchair Users

Disability and reduced quality of life (QoL) associated with musculoskeletal shoulder pain in individuals who use a manual wheelchair for mobility and lack of knowledge of biopsychosocial mechanisms of shoulder pain in the acute and chronic phase support the scientific premise for this proposal. In persons with chronic SCI, pain catastrophizing is a strong predictor of QoL and is associated with disability and fear of movement (kinesiophobia). Pain catastrophizing has been identified as one of the most important psychological variables for explaining responses to pain. The aim of this pilot study is to determine the relationship between shoulder pain, psychosocial factors, QoL and duration of manual wheelchair use.

Influence of Resting Pectoralis Minor Muscle Length on Shoulder Girdle Kinematics

The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of resting pectoralis minor muscle length and pectoralis minor muscle extensibility on shoulder girdle motion during overhead reaching tasks. Specifically this study intends to answer the following questions: 1) Does shoulder girdle motion during overhead reaching differ between individuals with typical and short resting pectoralis minor muscle length; 2) Do pectoralis minor muscle length changes during overhead reaching differ between individuals with typical and short resting pectoralis minor muscle length; and 3) Does pectoralis minor muscle extensibility differ between individuals with typical and individuals with a short pectoralis minor muscle resting length?

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography
Google Scholar

Selected Publications

Finley M.A., Ebaugh, D., Trojian, T. Agreement of musculoskeletal ultrasound and clinical assessment of shoulder impairment in manual wheelchair users with various duration of spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ePub ahead of print) DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.12.015

Ebaugh, D.,Finley, M., Goodstadt, N. Resting pectoralis minor muscle length, an accurate way to determine if the muscle is shortened? (2017) Journal Hand Therapy, 30(4):e9.

Jones, E., McPoil, T, Fruth, S. Finley, MA. Comparison of Graston technique instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and stretching for the management of chronic plantar heel pain – A Pilot Study. (2017) Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. (in press)

Wright, H. O’Brien, V., Valdes, K., Koczan, B., MacDermid, J., Moore, E., Finley, MA. Relationship of the patient specific functional scale to commonly used clinical measures in hand osteoarthritis. (2017) Journal Hand Therapy, 30(4):538-545.

Finley, MA & Ebaugh, DD. Association of pectoralis minor extensibility, shoulder mobility and duration of manual wheelchair use. (2017) Archives Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98(10), 2028-2033.

Finley, MA, Goodstadt, N., Soler, D., Somerville, K., Friedman, Z., Ebaugh, D. Reliability and validity of a novel technique for active and passive pectoralis minor muscle length measures. (2017) Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 21(3), 212-218.

Finley, M., Jelinek, JA., & Misamore, G. (2015). Three-dimensional analysis versus goniometric measurement of total active elevation in normal subjects. Journal Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 24(9), 1391-1396.

Rundquist, PJ., Dumit, M., Hartley, J., Schultz, K., & Finley, MA. (2012). Three-dimensional shoulder complex kinematics in individuals with upper extremity impairment from chronic stroke. Disability and Rehabilitation, 34(5), 402-407.

Finley, MA., & Rodgers, MM. (2007). Effect of 2-speed geared manual wheelchair propulsion on shoulder pain and function. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 88(12), 1622-1627.

Finley, MA., McQuade, KJ., & Rodgers, M M. (2005). Scapular kinematics during transfers in manual wheelchair users with and without shoulder impingement. Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 20(1), 32-40.

Finley, MA., Fasoli, SE., Dipietro, L., Ohlhoff, J., Macclellan, L., Meister, C., . . . Hogan, N. (2005). Short-duration robotic therapy in stroke patients with severe upper-limb motor impairment. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 42(5), 683-692.

Finley, MA., & Rodgers, MM. (2004). Prevalence and identification of shoulder pathology in athletic and nonathletic wheelchair users with shoulder pain: A pilot study. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 41(3B), 395-402.

Finley, MA., & Lee, RY. (2003). Effect of sitting posture on 3-dimensional scapular kinematics measured by skin-mounted electromagnetic tracking sensors. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 84(4), 563-568. doi:10.1053/apmr.2003.50087.

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD

Associate Professor
Drexel University
Dept of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
Three Parkway Building
1601 Cherry Street, Mail Stop 7-502
Office 763
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Desk: 267-359-5583