Snapping Scapular Syndrome

SSS 11 300x121 Snapping Scapular SyndromeDo you sometimes hear a few cracking or grinding sound whenever you move or flex your shoulders? This sound is actually caused by the joint scapulothoracic which is located when the scapula, also called the shoulder blade, rests against your chest wall. These sounds are very rare in a normal person.


• Repetitive and frequent motions of the shoulder like baseball pitching or bowling lay a huge stress on the shoulder. Upon such repetitive actions, the tissues in shoulder joints tend to get inflamed. Due to inflammation theshoulder blade tissues would thicken. This thickening causes the snapping scapula problem in the shoulder.

• Also, during the aging process, muscles tend to grow weak and this could cause the scapula muscles to grind against the rib cage while moving the shoulders. This grinding phenomenon might lead to an alignment problem in the bones of the joint scapulothoracic. This could be another reason for snapping scapula syndrome.

• Sometimes bones in the scapula’s upper edge might develop abnormal curves (could be due to a case of rib fracture). Such abnormalities could cause the body to develop a new bursa (a sack filled with fluid in the scapula that keeps the tissues of the shoulder from friction). The formation of an extra bursa could cause inflammation leading to a phenomenon called bursitis.


Doctors often recommend physical therapy in order to strengthen the subscapular muscle, and prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. For extreme cases, cortisone injections would be utilized.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is usually only used if the non-surgical treatments have failed. Bone abnormalities may need surgical attention. The most common surgery for snapping scapula requires the surgeon to “take out a small piece of the upper corner of the scapula nearest to the spine.”

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