The Effects of Scapular Mobilization in Patients With Subacromial Impingement Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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To determine the effects of scapular mobilization on function, pain, range of motion, and satisfaction in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome (SAIS).


Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.


University hospital clinics in Turkey.


66 participants (mean ± SD age 52.06 ± 3.71 y) with SAIS.


Participants were randomized into 3 groups: scapular mobilization, sham scapular mobilization, and supervised exercise. Before the interventions transcutaneous electrical stimulation and hot pack were applied to all groups. Total intervention duration for all groups was 3 wk with a total of 9 treatment sessions.

Main Outcome Measures:

Shoulder function and pain intensity were primary outcome measures; range of motion and participant satisfaction were secondary outcome measures. Shoulder function was assessed with the short form of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Questionnaire (DASH). A visual analog scale was used to evaluate pain severity. Active range of motion was measured with a universal goniometer. A 7-point Likert scale was used to evaluate satisfaction. Outcome measurements were performed at baseline, before visits 5 and 10, 4 wk after visit 9, and 8 wk after visit 9.


There was no group difference for DASH score (P = .75), pain at rest (P = .41), pain with activity (P = .45), pain at night (P = .74), and shoulder flexion (P = .65), external rotation (P = .63), and internal rotation (P = .19). There was a significant increase in shoulder motion and function and a significant decrease in pain across time when all groups were combined (P < .001). The level of satisfaction was not significantly different for any of the questions about participant satisfaction between all groups (P > .05).


There was not a significant advantage of scapular mobilization for shoulder function, pain, range of motion, and satisfaction compared with sham or supervised-exercise groups in patients with SAIS.

Aytar is with the Dept of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, and Oztop and Karatas, the Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baskent University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey. Baltaci is with the School of Physiotherapy, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. Uhl is with the Div of Athletic Training, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Tuzun is with the Dept of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Kirikkale University, Ankara, Turkey.

Address author correspondence to Aydan Aytar at