Scapula Dyskinesis

Scapula dyskinesis refers to an abnormal movement or position of the scapula (shoulder blade) during shoulder movement. It is a common condition among athletes, especially those involved in overhead activities, and can contribute to shoulder pain, instability, and decreased performance. Scapula dyskinesis may be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle imbalances, poor posture, nerve injuries, and previous shoulder injuries.

Causes of Scapula Dyskinesis

Scapula dyskinesis can have various causes, including:

  • Weakness or fatigue of the muscles around the scapula, such as the serratus anterior or trapezius muscles.
  • Tightness or imbalances in the muscles around the scapula, leading to altered movement patterns.
  • Overuse injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries or rotator cuff injuries.
  • Poor posture or body mechanics, such as slouching or carrying a heavy backpack.
  • Neurological conditions affecting the nerves that control the scapula, such as spinal cord injuries or nerve entrapment syndromes.
  • Previous shoulder or scapular injuries or surgeries.

Signs and Symptoms of Scapula Dyskinesis

Scapular dyskinesis can present with a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in the shoulder or neck region
  • Decreased strength in the shoulder and upper extremity muscles
  • Shoulder instability
  • Limited shoulder range of motion
  • Abnormal shoulder blade movement or winging
  • Tenderness in the shoulder and neck area
  • Clicking or popping sensation in the shoulder
  • Feeling of weakness or fatigue in the shoulder and arm

It is important to note that not all individuals with scapular dyskinesis will experience symptoms.

Treatment for Scapula Dyskinesis

The physiotherapy treatment for scapula dyskinesis typically involves a combination of stretching, strengthening, and neuromuscular re-education exercises to correct movement patterns and muscle imbalances. The treatment aims to improve scapular control and stability, restore the normal range of motion, and reduce pain.

Some of the commonly used physiotherapy treatments for scapula dyskinesis are:

Manual Therapy: Soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, and trigger point release techniques may be used to relieve pain and improve the range of motion.

Strengthening Exercises: Exercises to strengthen the weak muscles such as the lower trapezius, serratus anterior, and rhomboids, while reducing the dominance of overactive muscles such as the upper trapezius and levator scapulae.

Stretching Exercises: Exercises to stretch the tight muscles such as the pectoralis minor, levator scapulae, and upper trapezius.

Posture Correction: The physiotherapist may work on correcting posture during daily activities such as sitting, standing, and lifting.

Neuromuscular Re-education: Exercises to improve the coordination and activation of the muscles around the shoulder blade.

Scapular Taping: The use of taping techniques to facilitate proper scapular movement during exercises and daily activities.

The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. A physiotherapist will design an individualized treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs.

It is important to note that the treatment of scapula dyskinesis is not limited to the shoulder blade region, but it may also involve the neck, upper back, and shoulder joint.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about scapula dyskinesis please call us at 03 9836 1126.



Bae, Y. H., Lee, J. W., Kim, H. K., & Kim, Y. H. (2021). The effect of a scapular stabilization exercise program on scapular alignment and muscle activity in overhead athletes with scapular dyskinesis: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of sport rehabilitation

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