Hi, I’m Parnashree from Miami Physio and I’m going to explain why shoulder blades wing out (winging scapula) and why it causes problems.
Movements of the scapula or the shoulder blades are essential for normal shoulder and arm use. Scapular winging refers to when the inner border of the shoulder blades becomes prominent. The border sticks out because of the weakness of the shoulder blade muscles. This can happen either because of damage to the scapula muscles, their nerve supply or the scapular bones and the surrounding joints.
Firstly, let’s talk about the nerve and muscles that can cause your shoulder blades to stick out. Injury to the scapular muscles themselves can lead to weakness. This weakness presents itself as shoulder blade pain. Strenuous exercises (often overhead), repetitive small injuries, or upper arm and upper back surgery can cause the nerves to become irritated leading to weakness or paralysis of the scapular muscles they supply.
Secondly, scapular bony injuries such as fractures to the shoulder blade or collar bone can also lead to compensations in the way you move, resulting in the muscles becoming weak.
Finally, having a painful shoulder will change the way you move your shoulder and use the shoulder muscles, resulting in an imbalance of muscles forces in the scapular muscles and weakness in these muscles.
If you have shoulder pain already and would like to get started on a program to correct your shoulder blade position and get on top of your pain, book an appointment with one of our physios today.
What problems does a winging scapular cause?
Your shoulder blade provides a stable base for your arm to move. If this system is out of whack then other muscles (such as your scapular muscles) will overwork and get sore. This often leads to pain between your shoulder blades or around the upper traps muscles. The poor shoulder blade position will also set you up for rotator cuff impingement syndrome – a result of the rotator cuff tendons getting squashed.
The good news is that this can be assessed and corrected. At Miami Physio and Lakelands Physio, our physios will do a thorough assessment of your shoulder movement and shoulder blade position. Once that’s done, we will design an individual physical therapy program to correct any current issues and prevent any potential problems.
Book an appointment to get started today!