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Crackling scapula syndrome is a condition that results from an abnormal structure of the bony components of the scapula. Symptoms of the disease may include crackling and skipping of the shoulder blade, shoulder pain and pain when moving the arm. What are the causes of snap scapula syndrome? What other symptoms are accompanying it? What is its treatment?

Crackling scapula syndromeis considered a disturbance in the scapulo-costal space and a disturbance in the biomechanics of the movement of the scapula. Ailments appear during sports or overhead activities.

The crackling blade syndrome often affects people who practice handball, volleyball, tennis and work in construction, e.g. painters, wallpaper makers or plasterers.

Crackling paddle syndrome - where the crackling comes from

The scapula is a triangular flat bone that sits at the back of the rib cage that connects to the torso only through the collarbone. Only the muscles are the elements that maintain its position.

The shoulder blade slides along the surface of the chest, i.e. the ribs, from which it is separated by two muscles.

When there is an irregularity in this sliding, you can feel and hear friction, often referred to as pops or jumping. This phenomenon is not accompanied by pain.

Crackling Paddle Syndrome - Causes

The main cause of popping scapula syndrome is repetitive movements, which irritate the scapula area. But many specialists believe that this is not a sufficient reason for the disease to occur. The disturbed biomechanics of the scapula may be related to:

  • abnormal bone structure of the scapula
  • bursitis
  • injuries to the shoulder girdle
  • overloads
  • abnormalities in the muscles, e.g. with fibrosis, atrophy, excessive tension or excessive mobility

Slamming scapula syndrome - symptoms

We have already mentioned the annoying jumping and crackling in the shoulder blade. Some patients refer to it as scratching, which occurs when performing overhead activities and when moving the shoulder girdle (e.g. shrugging the shoulders).

Another symptom may be slight pain in the area of ​​the lower or upper anglepaddles.

Restriction in hand mobility is also a common symptom.

In advanced cases of "slamming scapula" syndrome, there is pain at rest. Pain can radiate to the shoulder and cervical spine.

Snap Scapula Syndrome - Treatment

The crackling scapula syndrome is treated by orthopedists.

Usually the doctor examines the patient by touching his back with his fingers. When using a stethoscope, she can hear the sound of a creaking or jumping scapula. It can also induce tenderness of the scapula by pressing it.

The physician often asks the patient to move their arm to observe the shoulder blade sticking out as a result of a conflict with another structure. Abnormal body posture is also often found, especially increased thoracic kyphosis or scoliosis.

Initial diagnosis is completed by an X-ray or CT scan order.

When the pain radiates to the shoulders, the condition is sometimes confused with a pathology of the shoulder or cervical spine.

Conservative treatment, including pharmacotherapy and rehabilitation, is the first step in the cracking scapula syndrome treatment.

Snapping scapula syndrome - surgical treatment

If conservative treatment is ineffective or other pathological changes appear, surgery may be necessary.

The surgeon cuts the skin to get to the scapula. Then it cuts out overgrown soft tissues, bone changes and the so-called free bodies, i.e. fragments of loose tissue. If necessary, plastic surgery of the bone area of ​​the scapula is performed.

The repair procedure can also be performed using the arthroscopic technique. The advantage of arthroscopy is a smaller scar and the number of complications as well as shorter rehabilitation. It results directly from the invasiveness of the technique, without the need to cut the muscles during the procedure, which allows the affected limb to return to full function earlier.

Rehabilitation is required after the surgical intervention. The time of rehabilitation depends on the extent of the surgery performed. After arthroscopy, patients recover after 2-4 weeks. You can start sports again after 2-3 months. After open procedures, recovery is much longer and may take up to 4 months.

Crackling scapula syndrome - rehabilitation

In the crackling blade syndrome, rehabilitation is the basic element of conservative treatment. The primary goal is to relieve the shoulder girdle and the entire arm by avoiding activities that may aggravate pain.

An inseparable element complementing rehabilitation is administering painkillers andanti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants.

In the advanced crackling blade assembly the so-called blockages, i.e. administering a strong painkiller directly to the joint. Steroid drugs are also administered to the shoulder girdle. This group of drugs brings relief quickly and lasts for several weeks. However, it must be remembered that they can damage the articular cartilage.

Patients are also recommended physical therapy treatments that have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect (e.g. cryotherapy).

Magnetic field, laser therapy and ultrasounds accelerate the regeneration of damaged soft tissues.

Electrostimulation increases muscle strength, and the solux lamp relaxes and improves blood circulation, and thus tissue nourishment.

Often, a medical rehabilitation doctor recommends a deep tissue massage in the area of ​​the shoulder girdle, which removes the increased tension in overloaded areas. Massage also improves blood circulation and nourishes tissues.

Unblocking the joint and restoring its physiological biomechanics is achieved by manual therapy. Treatments reduce pain and muscle tension, which leads to less inflammation and greater joint efficiency.

Kinesiotaping, i.e. covering the joint with special flexible plasters, is more and more often used to combat the ailments of the crackling scapula syndrome. Properly glued tapes provide greater stabilization of the joint. They also accelerate the healing processes. The tapes can also be used when returning to physical activity and provide protection against further injuries.

Crackling scapula syndrome - kinesitherapy

Patients suffering from snap scapula syndrome should exercise regularly, but the type of exercise should be indicated by an experienced physiotherapist. These must be healing exercises.

The first group of exercises are exercises without load, i.e. isometric exercises, stretching and stimulating neuromuscular stimulation.

Resistance exercises are then performed to increase muscle strength, stabilization, soft tissue flexibility and joint feeling.

The next stage of the exercises is to increase strength, improve movement control and the dynamics of shoulder joint movements.

The PNF method is extremely useful in regaining fitness. The PNF method, i.e. proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, is a method of comprehensive kinesiotherapy, based on the neurophysiological principles of performing motor activities and their development during human life. It is used for lost recovery or shapingimpaired motor skills.

PNF takes into account the feeling of one's own movement (proprioception) and focuses on facilitating movement in accordance with the physiological methods of performing the most functionally effective physical activity.

Specialists also recommend postural exercises aimed at correcting the patient's posture and learning the correct movement patterns of the upper limb.

In addition, endurance training of the muscles of the shoulder girdle is used, especially in athletes and physically active people, in order to strengthen the strength and resistance as well as the elasticity of soft tissues, to make them more resistant to damage.

About the authorAnna Jarosz A journalist who has been involved in popularizing he alth education for over 40 years. Winner of many competitions for journalists dealing with medicine and he alth. She received, among others The "Golden OTIS" Trust Award in the "Media and He alth" category, St. Kamil awarded on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, twice the "Crystal Pen" in the national competition for journalists promoting he alth, and many awards and distinctions in competitions for the "Medical Journalist of the Year" organized by the Polish Association of Journalists for He alth.

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