Neuromuscular control of scapula muscles during a voluntary task in subjects with Subacromial Impingement Syndrome. A case-control study

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Oct;23(5):1158-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2013.04.017. Epub 2013 Jun 17.


Imbalance of neuromuscular activity in the scapula stabilizers in subjects with Subacromial Impingement Syndrome (SIS) is described in restricted tasks and specific populations. Our aim was to compare the scapular muscle activity during a voluntary movement task in a general population with and without SIS (n=16, No-SIS=15). Surface electromyography was measured from Serratus anterior (SA) and Trapezius during bilateral arm elevation (no-load, 1kg, 3kg). Mean relative muscle activity was calculated for SA and the upper (UT) and lower part of trapezius (LWT), in addition to activation ratio and time to activity onset. In spite of a tendency to higher activity among SIS 0.10-0.30 between-group differences were not significant neither in ratio of muscle activation 0.80-0.98 nor time to activity onset 0.53-0.98. The hypothesized between-group differences in neuromuscular activity of Trapezius and Serratus was not confirmed. The tendency to a higher relative muscle activity in SIS could be due to a pain-related increase in co-activation or a decrease in maximal activation. The negative findings may display the variation in the specific muscle activation patterns depending on the criteria used to define the population of impingement patients, as well as the methodological procedure being used, and the shoulder movement investigated.

Keywords: Muscle imbalance; Muscle latency; Scapular stability; Shoulder pathology.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*
  • Volition*
  • Weight-Bearing
  • Young Adult