Snapping Scapula Syndrome

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Snapping scapula is a condition that causes symptoms of crunching or grinding underneath the shoulder blade. It may also cause pain. The symptoms can often be reproduced by movement of the shoulder blades.

The pain and symptoms come from structures rubbing between the shoulder blade and rib cage. Between these structures, there are a number of fluid-filled sacs called bursae. The bursae may become inflamed which causes pain. Very loud grinding or crunching noises can also be due to rubbing of bone masses on either the scapula or the rib cage.

Altered posture and poor strength of the shoulder blade muscles may be a cause of the condition. This results in an incongruence of the shoulder blade on the rib cage. It increases the chances of rubbing and catching of the bursae and bony structures.

The good news is that exercises to improve posture and increase strength can be helpful. The muscles that stabilise and move the shoulder blades are most important. Research has suggested targeting the muscles between the rib cage and the shoulder blade to increase the cushioning of the shoulder blade on the ribs.

The program within TrackActive Me will guide you through exercises for this purpose. You will need to stick to the exercises for several weeks before you see a real change. If you have severe symptoms, or your condition does not improve, it is worth discussing other options with your doctor.

It is important while doing this program to reduce or avoid unnecessary activities that cause you pain. For example, if you are doing painful activities like tennis, you may need to stop doing them until you have recovered. In the meantime, make sure you keep active with other exercises and activities that don’t cause you pain. Walking, cycling and even running may be possible. You can also choose from our library of pilates, stretching and lower body strengthening programs. Just select ‘Stay Strong and Healthy’ in the TrackActive Me chat feature.

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