The painful snapping scapula


painful snapping scapula


What is a painful snapping scapula ?
It´s cracking and snapping beneath or at the scapula / the backside of the affected shoulder blade. Such a snapping or cracking occurs sometimes, but without being painful - this is not a pathologic condition. Those cases with pain and snapping are the problem.


Development of a painful snapping scapula ?
Until today we don´t know the mechansims how such a painful scapula snapping develops. Some people are reporting about a little - or rarely bigger - trauma. Assumably, due to rest because of pain, a muscular atrophy develops and the there is less muscular balance and stabilization of the scapula. An inflammed bursa beneath the scapula develops, causing pain and cracking. Another cause might be an overuse or an inherent scapula malformation / angle.
Painful scapula snapping due to bony changes ( e.g. xostosis, bony tumors of the scapula, fractures aof the rips or scapula ) has to be distinguished from soft tissue changes, like an inflammed bursa under the scapula, tissue scars at or beneath the scapula and muscular atrophy.


Symptoms of a painful snapping scapula ?
If the arm of the affected side is moved, a painful snapping / cracking at or beneath the shoulder blade is present.


Therapy of a painfull snapping scapula ?
If there´s a mechanical / bony problem it has to be removed with an operation. The bony prominences or tumors will be excised arthroscopically or in an open procedure - depending on their size and position. The first step to treat a soft tissue problem is non operative ( e.g. injections and physiotherapy ). Within the last years an arthroscopy of the scapula is performed for a removal of an inflammed bursa, soft tissue scars or bony prominencies under the shoulder blade ( so called: scapulothoracic arthroscopy ).
A scapulothoracic arthroscopy is combined with a conventional shoulder arthroscopy because the reason for a painful scapula snapping could also be within the shoulder joint ( like SLAP lesions ).
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