Shoulder blade pain

Pain on or around the scapula or shoulder blade. The scapula may protrude in the case of a winged scapula and can be due to tightness, weakness or issues with other structures. In some cases the shoulder blade or scapula can be fractured and an aching or sharp pain can be present. Shoulder blade pain can also be burning or radiating from the neck where the nervous system may have been affected. In levator scapulae issues trigger points or stiffness can also cause neck pain with shoulder blade pain. Also due to the location of the rotator cuff muscles to the shoulder blade and attachment any injuries to these or related injuries, which affect these muscles, can elicit scapula pain.

The trapezius muscle and other adjacent muscles to the shoulder blade if injured or tight from an affected structure can cause pain in or around the shoulder blade. Injuries with this symptom are listed below:
  • Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula

    A winged scapula is a symptom of another condition, rather than an injury itself. It is where the shoulder blade protrudes out on the back, rather than laying flat against the back of the chest wall.

  • Scapula Fracture

    Scapula Fracture

    A scapula fracture is a break in the shoulder blade bone at the back of the shoulder. This is a relatively uncommon injury, making up only 1% of all fractures.

  • Shoulder Pain

    Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain or disability has been felt for. If you are not sure what your injury is why not check out our shoulder pain symptom checker! An acute shoulder injury occurs suddenly either through direct impact, over stretching a muscle, tendon or ligament, overusing a muscle or tendon or twisting of the shoulder joint. A chronic shoulder injury may come on gradually over time.

  • Chronic Shoulder Injuries

    Gradual onset shoulder pain or chronic shoulder pain may come on over a period of time. The athlete may not have known the exact time of injury which could have been niggling away for a while as they train through it. Due to the complexity of the shoulder joint there are some injuries which may appear to have happened suddenly but also may develop gradually over time. A chronic shoulder injury may also be acutely painful.

  • Acute Shoulder Injuries

    Sudden onset or acute shoulder injuries are ones which happen suddenly, often though a fall onto an outstretched arm or through direct impact or over stretching or overloading. Often the athlete will feel a sudden sharp pain with discomfort and or loss of mobility. Sometimes there will be swelling and inflammation. It is important acute shoulder injuries are treated as soon as possible with the PRICE princples of immediate first aid. Always seek medical advice if pain is severe or you are in any doubt.