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Assessment of Scapular Position

Lynne Neiers and Teddy W. Worrell

Assessment of posture is an integral component of the evaluation of patients with neck and shoulder dysfunctions. Protraction of the scapulae has been postulated to produce weakness of the shoulder musculature. Therefore, an accurate method is needed to assess scapular position in order to determine the effect of therapeutic intervention and classify dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to determine if an experienced clinician would accurately determine scapular position. Fifty subjects (age = 26 ±5.7 years, weight = 69.2 ±14.09 kg; height = 173.9 ±13.91 cm) participated in this study. The results revealed the following reliability coefficients: scapular distance (SD) intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) = .80, scapular size (SS) ICC = .96, and normalized scapular abduction (NSA) (SD/SS) ICC = .34. These data demonstrate that NSA was not reproducible in this study. The authors hypothesize that NSA contains more measurement error because NSA is a ratio value in which both the numerator and denominator contain measurement error. Further study is needed before NSA values are used to determine scapular position or correlated NSA is used to force development of shoulder musculature.