Written by Dave Liow
A static posture assessment of the shoulder girdle will give the tester some useful clues that may explain shoulder dysfunction. This article explores the static positioning of the shoulder girdle. This article will particularly focus on the positioning of the scapula, as the scapula is the base for attachment of muscles that move the glenohumeral joint.
Scapular plane is 15-30° forwards of frontal plane. Assessed from the side
o Angle greater than 30° – protraction
o Angle less the 15° - retraction
Note the protracted scapulae on the left accompanied by a marked thoracic kyphosis
Abduction / Adduction
· Scapula medial border is 4-5 from spine
o <4 cm – adduction
o >5cm – abduction
Elevation / Depression
· Medial end of spine of the scapula T3
· Inferior angle T7
Note the steep angle of the shoulders indicating abducted and depressed scapulae. The horizontal mark is at T3.
Winging / Tilting
· Medial border lifted
· Inferior angle tilted
Upward Rotation / Downward rotation
· Inferior angle slightly further from spine of scapula than medial border
· Acromion higher than superior angle
This patient has marked winging and downwardly rotated scapulae
It's also useful to feel the tone of the scapula muscles to see how posture is being maintained.
The starting position of the shoulder girdle is important due to the high mobility of the upper limb. The coordination and timing of the scapula and humerus is critical for glenohumeral safety. Starting in the wrong position makes timing problematic.
The Shoulder Girdle Movement Analysis and Motor Control Training Course will also assess the timing and coordination of shoulder girdle movement and show you key techniques to correct shoulder dysfunction.
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