Daniel C Hannah, Jason S Scibek, Christopher R Carcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Muscular weakness of the shoulder complex is commonly found in patients presenting with scapular dyskinesis; however, little is known regarding muscular performance in healthy individuals with scapular dyskinesis.

PURPOSE: To compare isometric strength measures of the shoulder complex between healthy individuals with and without scapular dyskinesis. It was hypothesized that healthy individuals with scapular dyskinesis would demonstrate decreased isometric strength of the scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff when compared to healthy individuals without scapular dyskinesis.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: Forty healthy, college-aged participants were recruited. Sixty-eight percent of subjects (27 of 40) presented with scapular dyskinesis. Thus, a matched-pairs analysis was conducted with 26 subjects (age: 22.00 ± 2.06 y; height: 168.77 ± 8.07 cm; mass: 70.98 ± 13.14 kg; BMI: 24.75 ± 3.04 kg/m2; 6 males; 20 females). The presence of scapular dyskinesis was determined visually using the scapular dyskinesis test with a dichotomous outcome (yes/no). Strength of the scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff was assessed via manual muscle testing using a handheld dynamometer. Force measures obtained with the handheld dynamometer were used to quantify strength. For each muscle tested, the mean peak force of three trials were normalized to body weight and used for data analysis. Additionally, strength ratios were calculated and analyzed. Differences in strength and strength ratios between those with and without scapular dyskinesis were compared using separate two-way mixed ANOVAs with repeated measures.

RESULTS: No significant differences for either strength (F1.83,43.92 = 1.10, p = .34) or strength ratios (F1.83,44.02 = 1.93, p = .16) were observed between those with and without scapular dyskinesis. A significant main effect (F1.83,43.92 = 239.32, p < .01) for muscles tested was observed, and post-hoc analysis revealed significant trends resulting in a generalized order: the upper trapezius generated the greatest amount of force, followed by serratus anterior and middle trapezius, lower trapezius, supraspinatus, medial rotators, and lateral rotators.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that differences in shoulder muscle strength do not exist between healthy subjects with and without scapular dyskinesis. Additionally, scapular dyskinesis appears to be prevalent in healthy populations.


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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