Scapular dyskinesis is a myth

Facts around your shoulder blade

The scapula or shoulder blade is a big player in arm movements. Some people say that without your scapula, you would have way less arm mobility. But in real life, you wouldn’t have any active mobility without your shoulder blade. That’s because your shoulder blade has the most connections with the muscles that move your arm up or in rotation. And the shoulder blade also carries the socket of your shoulder joint. So without this, you wouldn’t be able to move the arm. But there are more facts about your scapula you probably didn’t know of or facts that are way different than what you find online. So if you want to know the real facts about your shoulder blade or scapula, stay here and find out! 

Variations in shoulder blade movement are normal

Let’s start with the first fact. It’s normal that there are variations in movements of your shoulder blade. Older physios or physios that don’t stay up to date of the current changes in evidence still believe that variations of a shoulder blade are dysfunctional and need to be changed. But the latest evidence tells us otherwise. Variations are normal and can even be really useful if we link them to different sports. So if you have a winged shoulder or you see a tipped shoulder, don’t immediately try to change it. 

Asymmetry is normal

And that’s already fact number two, asymmetry and variations of shoulder blade movements are really common and normal. So why should we even take a look at it, if it’s normal among different people, and even normal in the same person. So your left and right shoulder can move completely differently from each other. So don’t listen if somebody tells you that you need to fix your winged shoulder blade.

Pain-free people also have scapular dyskinesis

Fact number three is also related to a different kind of moving shoulder blade. And that’s because variations in movement occur as often in people with and without pain. So again, changes in movement don’t mean we need to fix them. 

There is no relation between pain and scapular dyskinesis

Fact number four is that there is no relation between pain or pathology and a different way of movement of the shoulder blade. So the fact that your shoulder blade moves differently, doesn’t mean it is linked to pathology or pain in your shoulder. So instead of focusing on the shoulder blade let’s focus on something that HAS something to do with your lack of function or increase in shoulder pain. Maybe a lack of strength, maybe a lack of mobility or maybe it is your neck.

We can’t measure scapular dyskinesis

Because if we are really honest, we can’t even reliably measure changes of shoulder blade movements. And that’s already fact number five. So if we can’t measure changes of movements or “abnormal” movements, how can we even say that they are abnormal? Or to take it even further, how can we say that they are a part of your shoulder pain?

Rehab for scapular dyskinesis

The last fact about the scapula or the shoulder blade is that regular rehab is just as good as specific rehab. So instead of focusing on stabilizing your shoulder blade, try to do some functional exercises and exercises that match your complaint. If you’re having problems with reaching overhead, try to do some push and overhead activities. 


Alright, I hope these facts are helpful in understanding why we at yourphysio.online and you, shouldn’t be focussed at the shoulder blade. We at yourphysio.online are more focussed on how to move without pain as soon as possible. And that should also be your focus. And if you need some personal help with your shoulder pain or you just want a second opinion, consider booking an online appointment with our shoulder specialists


List of evidence to support our facts:

Fact one:McQuade et al 2016 phy ther 96(8)

Fact two:McQuade et al 1998 JOSPT; Matsuki et al (2011) JSES; Nagamatsu et al (2015) SICOT

Fact three: Plummer et al (2017) JOSPT

Fact 4: Struyf et al 2011 J med sport sci; Wassinger et al (2013) JOSPT

Fact 5: Lange et al (2017)  physical therapy sport

Fact 6: Hotta et al (2020) Musculoskeletal science practice


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