The subscapularis is a very powerful muscle that rotates the arm inwards, and is part of the rotator cuff group of muscles. When the subscapularis is inflamed it will be painful to move the shoulder and the tendon in the inner upper arm will be tender to touch. The subscapularis is often injured by throwers and can be stubborn to treat. Read more on how to treat this injury below.
Symptoms of an inflamed subscapularis
Subscapularis tendonitis symptoms include pain when moving the shoulder especially when the arm is raised above the shoulders. Specific tests which may reproduce pain to help diagnosis would include rotating the arm inwards against resistance. Tenderness and pain will be felt when pressing in on the tendon insertion on the inside of the upper arm.
What is the subscapularis muscle?
The subscapularis muscle originates from the underside of the shoulder blade and inserts at the front of the upper arm (humerus). It is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. It is a very powerful muscle that rotates the arm inwards (part of the rotator cuff group of muscles). It is mainly throwers that injure this muscle.
A partial rupture of the muscle is more common than a complete rupture but the partial rupture will often heal with inflammation.
Treatment of an inflamed subscapularis
What can the athlete do?
Rest until it is not painful. Apply ice initially to help reduce pain and inflammation. See a sports injury professional who can advise on rehabilitation.
What can a sports injury specialist do?
Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Apply sports massage techniques. Prescribe a program of mobility, flexibility and strength training. If you have a partial rupture then as long as you look after it you should be back in training within 3 weeks. However, if you think it has started to become inflamed then you must rest or the injury will become chronic requiring you to rest for months.