Snapping Scapula Syndrome

What is Snapping Scapula Syndrome?

Snapping Scapula Syndrome is one of the rare problems that is witnessed in human bodies. The scapula is the joint where the shoulder blade fits along the chest wall. The scapula is medically called as the

Scapulothoracic Joint and the Chest Wall are called Thorax. If the movement of this particular joint causes pain or popping or thumping sound then it is called as the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. The tissues that are located may get irritated or inflamed for multiple reasons and that causes the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. The syndrome is said to be one of the rare one in the human body but may cause trouble, pain and uncomfortable feelings in the Scapula joint.

Anatomy of Scapula

snapping scapula syndrome

It is very important to understand the anatomy of the Scapula joint before moving on to the details of the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. The Human shoulder consists of three bones Humerus (also known as the upper arm bone),

Clavicle (also known as the collarbone) and the Scapula. The Scapula rests on the chest wall on the front side and is support by two muscles. The first muscle is called Subscapularis muscle.

This attaches the Scapula on the front side where it touches the chest wall. The other muscle is called Serratus Anterior Muscle. This is a large muscle and attaches the edge of the Scapula to the nearest Spine. It wraps up the front side of the scapula and the chest wall to connect to the ribs on the front side. The two muscles carry Bursa, a fluid sac that prevents the friction in the muscles. All of these body parts are involved in the Snapping Scapula Syndrome.

Symptoms of Snapping Scapula Syndrome

causes of snapping scapula syndromeThe symptoms of the Snapping Scapula Syndrome are very important to observe and understand. Even though the syndrome is rarely seen but the symptoms may help the diagnosis to be faster and smoother.

  • Grating, Popping and Snapping sound can be heard and felt along the shoulder. Medically, this is called as Crepitus.
  • The popping up of the shoulder during movement may become very frequent. It may or may not cause any pain.
  • It can be very painful and you may not be able to move your shoulder.
  • Pain may surface over the shoulder and sensation can be felt and increased with touch at the Scapula joint.

Causes of Snapping Scapula Syndrome

There could be numerous reasons for Snapping Scapula Syndrome. However, all the reasons are related to bones and the tissues of the anatomy of the Scapula Joint. The following are the causes of Snapping Scapula Syndrome.

  • The tissues in between the Scapula and the shoulder blade starts thickening due to inflammation. It can be caused by regressive movements of the shoulder.
  • The muscle plays a vital role in determining the movement of the Scapula. However, if the muscle becomes weak then the scapula gets bumped into the rib instead of the chest wall. This can cause Snapping Scapula Syndrome and it can be very painful.
  • Accidents can be a reason for the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. The dislocation of the bones or the rearrangement of the bone structure may cause the pain and the problem while moving his shoulder.
  • The abnormal curves on the Scapula joint may also rise to the same problem.
  • The inflammation on the bursa may cause painful Snapping Scapula Syndrome. It may occur due to abnormalities and accidents as well.

Diagnosis of Snapping Scapula Syndrome

There are many ways to diagnose the shoulder problem. If you are facing the symptoms listed above then it is better to visit a doctor immediately.

  • Past history is one of the crucial part of diagnosis. If you have encountered similar problems in the past then it is not abnormal for the issue to come back. Any past injury of shoulder may also originate the Snapping Scapula Syndrome.
  • Checking sound with stethoscope is another way to diagnose the problem. Doctor may look to hear the sound of snapping or granting during the movement of the scapula. You may feel pain during the process.
  • Computed Tomography or CT scan is another method to determine the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. This is one of the better ways to diagnose the problem.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI may be advised by the doctor as part of the diagnosis of the shoulder problem. This will give a clear picture on the problem related to Scapula.
  • X-Ray is obviously a good option for the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. However, if the problem is related to tissue or fluid sac then it might not yield many results.

Treatment for shoulder scapula syndrome

It is a treatable syndrome and treatment may vary as per the condition and symptoms of the issue. The following treatments are available for Snapping Scapula Syndrome.

Non Surgical Treatment

The most common non surgical treatment is the Non inflammatory drugs. The drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may be very helpful for the syndrome. Treatments like physiotherapy can also be tried for the syndrome. There are situations when injections may be given to the patients for temporary but immediate relief.


This is the option for the severe condition of the Snapping Scapula Syndrome. If the issue is related to the bone of the scapula joint then Bone resection may be performed on the patient. This is a permanent solution. However, that does not ensure that this will not reappear again. If the problem is related to the fluid sac then the operation is known as the Arthroscopic Bursectomy.

Doctors might call for other treatments as per the condition of the patient as well.



One thought on “Snapping Scapula Syndrome

  • 28/01/2017 at 12:49 PM

    Alaoazaam-infkrmation found, problem solved, thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *