How to Fix a Winged Scapula

Aptly name winged scapula, this is a rare condition sees the shoulder blades protrude from an individual`s upper back in an abnormal position. In most cases, the “wing” causes the shoulder to round forward, and this inhibits your ability to pull the shoulder blades together. Subsequently, the inability to pull the shoulder blades together inhibits your ability to lift, carry, pull and even rotate your body.

How to Fix a Winged Scapula

How to Fix a Winged Scapula

Fortunately, certain exercises and methods can fix the amount of winging of the scapula and prevents the condition from exacerbating. Let`s look at some of the methods;

Surgical Methods

A surgical procedure calls for when either the symptoms of winging scapula cannot be relieved with non-operative procedures or if the condition is too severe. In such a scenario, your physician might recommend a tendon transfer, which entails transferring healthy muscle tendons and substituting the impaired tendon. The purpose of the tendon transfer is to recuperate lost shoulder functionality by dynamic re-stabilization of the scapula and improving the condition.


Non-surgical Methods

The second option is recommended if the condition is not severe or is at its early stages. A converse of the surgical procedure, this method is non-invasive at the very least, and do not involve any operation. There are a variety of treatments housed under the non-surgical methods. A shoulder specialist might recommend;

  1. Physical/Massage Therapy – Message therapy is an effective method of fixing the winged scapula. The technique does so by releasing the tightness and tension in your pectoral muscles as well as the muscles around your shoulder blades. The tightness in the above muscles is responsible for preventing your serratus anterior from activating and holding the shoulder place in place, and so releasing the tension on the muscles will might fix the issue.
  2. Use of Medicine – If your scapula winging has resulted in inflaming or knotting the muscle tissues, then muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers can work to assist in lessening and treating the painful condition. However, medicine does not provide a permanent solution; rather it offers a temporary relief to the pain.
  3. Breathing Mechanics – Specifically, you`ll need to pay special attention to the complete exhale and expelling of all your air out. Total exhalation allows you to relax the diaphragm back into its domes position, rotates the rib cage down, back and in, thus eliminating winged scapula. The abdominals on the front of the body alongside the serratus anterior in the back are needed for supporting the rearward rotation of the lower rib cage.
  4. Exercises to Fix Scapular Winging – Exercises are yet another effective means of fixing scapula winging. When undertaking these workouts, it`s best to have a physical therapist to guide you. However, you can still perform these exercises and stretches even in the absence of a physician. Here`re a few of the exercises you can take;

Also, read – How to Fix a Posterior Pelvic Tilt?

Corrective Exercise Training

Corrective exercises are a common workout program used by many physical therapists to correct the winged scapula. This method works by first identifying the cause of the condition. This is done by observing how your body is aligned and how it responds or rather moves in a systemic pattern such as lunging or squatting. By identifying the source of the issue, a physical therapist can embark to correct the issue, subsequently fixing the winged scapula condition. This method is opposed to treating the symptoms of winged scapula but instead correcting the root of the condition.

Passive Scapular Retraction

The passive scapular retraction uses the gravity to bring the shoulder blades together, and this helps in relaxing your spine. To perform this workout, you will need to;

  • Kneel on the ground with your shoulders over your hands and hip joint over your knees
  • Relax your belly so that it`s distended towards the ground and passively extending your lower back
  • Straighten your arms, relax your shoulder and allow your head to drop down
  • With every exhalation, bring your shoulders blades closer together and increase your lower spine extension
  • Hold this position for anywhere between 6-10 deep breaths and repeat the workout for two to three times

Standing Doorway Chest Stretch

The standing doorway chest stretch helps in opening your chest cavity a pulling your shoulder blades together passively while allowing you to maintain an upright posture. To perform this exercise, you`ll need to;

  • Stand on a doorway while placing both of your arms on the sides bent at 90 degrees
  • Shift your body toward your front foot, and this should allow the shoulders to pull together without conscious effort
  • Hold this position for anywhere between 5-6 deep breaths, before switching legs position and repeating the stretch


Depending on the cause, treatment method, nerves and muscles affected, recovery from winged scapula can take anywhere from several months to years.Fixing winged scapula using nonsurgical options can start to work almost instantly, while surgical procedures are likely to take a few months to produce the desired results.

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