SCAPULAR (Shoulder Blade) STABILITY
• Why is the scapula important?
Normal shoulder motion involves a coordinated rhythm between movement of the shoulder blade on the chest wall and movement of the ball in the shoulder socket. This is called the “scapulohumeral rhythm.” Because the shoulder socket is part of the scapula, many conditions involving the shoulder joint cause secondary problems related to scapular motion and position. These secondary problems can, in turn, worsen the primary condition.
• What is scapular dyskinesia (movement disorder)?
This term refers to abnormalities in the rhythm of movement between the shoulder blade and ball and socket joint. It often goes unrecognized in the treatment of shoulder conditions such as impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinosis and shoulder instability. It may result from fatigue of the shoulder girdle muscles, pain-mediated muscle inhibition or stiffness about the shoulder joint.
• Why is scapular dyskinesia important?
The scapula functions to provide a stable foundation through which energy can be transferred from the legs and trunk to the arm and hand. This linkage is called the kinetic chain. Scapular dyskinesia may result in ineffective energy transfer, placing added stress on the tissues around the shoulder which must compensate for a weak link in the chain. This added stress may result in further muscle fatigue and tissue injury about the shoulder. Restoring a stable scapular base is essential to rehabilitating the shoulder and returning to functional activities. The position and movement of the scapula on the chest also controls the orientation of the shoulder socket relative to the ball and the orientation of the acromion bone relative to the rotator cuff tendons. Any abnormality of the scapular position therefore results in secondary effects on the function of the shoulder joint. For instance, if the scapula tilts anteriorly and laterally, the space available for the rotator cuff may be narrowed, resulting in tendon abrasion and injury.
• What is scapular stabilization?
Scapular stabilization refers to a set of exercises that strengthen the shoulder girdle muscles to restore normal scapular motion and correct dyskinesia. These exercises also aim to facilitate energy transfer through the kinetic chain. An essential part of rehabilitating the kinetic chain therefore involves exercises that transfer energy from the trunk to the arm.
**This information was taken from an excerpt from Dr F. Moola, Orthopedic Surgeon at UBC. Please refer to the following link for more information: orthodoc.aaos.org/.../Scapular%20Stabilization%20Exercises.pdf
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