SUMMARY. The ability to position and control movements of the scapula is essential for optimal upper limb function. The inability to achieve this stable base frequently accompanies the development of shoulder and upper limb pain and pathology. Unlike other joints the bony, capsular and ligamentous constraints are minimal at the scapulothoracic 'joint' so stability is dependant on active control. Clinically, it is noted that patients presenting with shoulder and arm symptoms demonstrate poor dynamic scapula control. Scapula setting is an exercise taught by physiotherapists to correct movement dysfunction associated with abnormal scapula positioning and dynamic control. Addressing the dynamic stabilization of the scapula is an essential part of the management of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction of the shoulder girdle and an appropriate rehabilitation programme is necessary if this issue is to be addressed. Copyright 1997 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.