Effects of Scapular Stabilization Exercise Training on Scapular Kinematics, Disability, and Pain in Subacromial Impingement: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Oct;98(10):1915-1923.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.05.023. Epub 2017 Jun 24.


Objective: To investigate the effects of 2 different exercise programs on 3-dimensional scapular kinematics, disability, and pain in participants with subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS).

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Outpatient clinic and research laboratory.

Participants: Participants who were diagnosed with SIS and who also exhibited scapular dyskinesis (N=30).

Interventions: The participants were randomized in 2 different exercise groups: (1) shoulder girdle stretching and strengthening with additional scapular stabilization exercises based on a kinetic chain approach (intervention group), and (2) shoulder girdle stretching and strengthening exercises only (control group).

Main outcome measures: Three-dimensional scapular kinematics, self-reported shoulder pain, and disability were evaluated at baseline, after 6 weeks of training, and after 12 weeks of training.

Results: Significant differences were observed between the control and intervention groups in external rotation and posterior tilt after 6 weeks of training and in external rotation, posterior tilt, and upward rotation after 12 weeks of training. All groups showed improvement in self-reported pain and disability scores; however, there were no significant differences between the groups.

Conclusions: Progressive exercise training independent from specific scapular stabilization exercises provides decreased disability and pain severity in impingement syndrome.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02286310.

Keywords: Exercise; Motion; Rehabilitation; Scapula; Shoulder.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Scapula / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Visual Analog Scale

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02286310