Scapular dyskinesis

Scapular dyskinesis is condition that affects the normal function of the shoulder blade.  

Scapular dyskinesis

Scapular dyskinesis is condition that affects the normal function of the shoulder blade.  

Woman in green long sleeve shirt sitting at home office desk with back to camera performing stretches for scapular dyskinesis

What is scapular dyskinesis?

Scapular dyskinesis is a condition that causes the scapular (shoulder blade) to deviate from the normal position, either during movement or at rest. People who develop this condition generally experience a loss of physical function and control in the shoulder area as a result of injury to bone or nerves in the area or excessive muscle weakness or tightness. Common causes include high-grade AC arthrosis and instability and glenohumeral joint internal derangement.

The most common symptoms of scapular dyskinesis include pain, tenderness, weakness, and fatigue, especially when raising your arm or lifting something heavy. Visible deviation from the normal resting position or motion of the scapular, arm, and shoulder is also common, and you may also notice a change in your posture. Without treatment, the condition may progress, resulting in ongoing weakness, muscle imbalance, or damage to the nerves, rotator cuff, or surrounding cartilage.
The process of diagnosing scapular dyskinesis typically begins with a physical examination of the arm and shoulder, both in resting position and during movement. Your doctor will observe your arm and shoulder area while in motion and while holding a weight, and may conduct other manual strength tests. The most common tests for this condition include the Scapular Assistance Test (SAT) and the Scapular Retraction Test (SRT), which involve applying pressure to the affected area and testing muscle strength.
Scapular dyskinesis can usually be treated with non-surgical options, a process which takes four to eight weeks on average. Non-surgical treatment generally consists of postural corrections, exercise routine modifications, and heat therapy. If injured tissue requires reconstruction, surgical treatment can be useful, although this is rare for this condition. If your condition is the result of an existing shoulder joint injury, surgery may be recommended.

Your results post-surgery or after a physical therapy program depend on the treatment and your commitment to rehabilitative exercises. With effective rehabilitation practices and care, your normal shoulder blade function may be fully restored, enabling you to resume your normal activities and lifestyle. However, in some cases – particularly those involving extensive injury – there is a possibility that you will not regain full function.

Whilst the majority of people who undergo shoulder surgery do well and are very happy with their function and result, there are risks which are specific to shoulder surgery in addition to the general risks of surgery. This includes deep infection, injury to the nerves tendons or blood vessels close to the surgical field which may require further surgery, stiffness or developing a frozen shoulder, ongoing pain, fracture of the bones and abnormal pain responses such as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Most of these risks are low and less than 5 %, but it is important to be aware of these risks before consenting to surgery. There are also risks relating to the specific type of shoulder surgery that you are having which Dr Cheriachan will discuss with you in detail during your consultation.

Physical therapy is the most important component of the rehabilitation process for scapular dyskinesis, particularly after an operation. Physical therapy and conditioning are often required to maintain flexibility and build strength in the affected area. Your doctor will recommend a program of exercises to provide for a safe recovery with minimal discomfort which can include pain medication. 

Preparing for your visit

Dr Cheriachan consults from Norwest on Wednesdays and Blacktown on Mondays and Thursdays.

Your first visit will be used to carefully assess your condition as well as gathering all related health information. It is important that you bring all relevant documents including scans and x-rays. We also ask that you wear clothing that allows freedom of movement as your visit will include a physical examination.