The Shoulder Blade

23 July 2017 7:55PM
By Jack Waller - Staff Physiotherapist
The Shoulder Blade

The Shoulder Blade

Shoulder injuries are some of the most common injuries seen in the clinic. Your shoulder blade or Scapula (to use the anatomical term) plays an important role in allowing the shoulder to move. Leading shoulder experts are in agreement that abnormal scapula position and movement has some association with shoulder impingement, rotator cuff dysfunction and shoulder instability. As a result of this association, exercises that target scapular and shoulder stability are common in physiotherapy shoulder rehab protocols. In this newsletter, we are going to take a closer look at the Scapula and how it can help get your shoulder back performing at 100%.

The scapula provides a stable base to allow your arm to move in almost any direction. It is therefore logical to expect abnormalities to scapular position and movement to subsequently interfere with your shoulders movement patterns as you lift your arm, potentially predisposing the shoulder to a variety of pathologies that are commonly encountered in physiotherapy practice.

EMG studies have found that patients with shoulder injuries commonly have soft tissue imbalances following muscles; Serratus Anterior, Upper Trapezius, Lower Trapezius, Pectorial and Rhomboid Muscles.


To put it simply, physio rehabilitation of the scapula generally involves correcting the muscle imbalances through stretches and strengthening, here are some of the basic exercises I prescribe:

The Push up plus: Used to strengthen the Serratus Anterior
The Pec Minor Wall Stretch

These exercises are all designed to make sure your shoulder blade is held in the correct position and prevent abnormal movement patterns. Even if you are not currently experiencing shoulder pain, the exercises can be great for making sure the shoulder is stable and strong decreasing the chance of a shoulder injury occurring. If you have a shoulder injury or simply would like to find out more about strengthening the scapula the skilled team at North City Physiotherapy can get you started today!


Jack Waller is a physiotherapist at our Porirua clinic and runs a clinic also at Aotea College.

If you want to see Jack you can ring us on 0800 627 497 or book online at:

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