The role of the scapula in athletic shoulder function

Am J Sports Med. 1998 Mar-Apr;26(2):325-37. doi: 10.1177/03635465980260022801.


The exact role and the function of the scapula are misunderstood in many clinical situations. This lack of awareness often translates into incomplete evaluation and diagnosis of shoulder problems. In addition, scapular rehabilitation is often ignored. Recent research, however, has demonstrated a pivotal role for the scapula in shoulder function, shoulder injury, and shoulder rehabilitation. This knowledge will help the physician to provide more comprehensive care for the athlete. This "Current Concepts" review will address the anatomy of the scapula, the roles that the scapula plays in overhead throwing and serving activities, the normal biomechanics of the scapula, abnormal biomechanics and physiology of the scapula, how the scapula may function in injuries that occur around the shoulder, and treatment and rehabilitation of scapular problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Scapula / injuries
  • Scapula / physiology*
  • Scapula / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Injuries*