The role of the scapula

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;8(5):617-29.


Previously, the scapular musculature was often neglected in designing a rehabilitation protocol for the shoulder. In the past two decades a significant amount of research has been performed in order to help identify the role of the scapula in upper extremity function. Weakness of the scapular stabilizers and resultant altered biomechanics could result in: 1) abnormal stresses to the anterior capsular structures of the shoulder, 2) increased possibility of rotator cuff compression, and 3) decreased shoulder complex neuromuscular performance. This clinical commentary presents facts about the anatomy and biomechanics of the scapula and surrounding musculature, and describes the pathomechanics of scapular dysfunction. The focus is upon the assessment of dysfunction and retraining of the scapular musculature.

Level of evidence: 5.

Keywords: scapular biomechanics; scapular musculature; scapular strengthening; shoulder rehabilitation.