Scapular dyskinesis is not an isolated risk factor for shoulder injury in athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Dr Jarod Hall info

Key Points

  1. The results of this review demonstrate the emerging hypothesis that scapular dyskinesis may just represent the spectrum of normal kinematic variation.
All key points available for members only


Shoulder injuries account for up to 20% of injuries in all competitive sports. 75% of shoulder injuries are recurrent and can lead to prolonged time away from sport (1). More severe injuries warranting surgical intervention may result in prolonged or incomplete return to previous competitive performance.

The effect of shoulder injury warrants investigation into predisposing factors that could be targeted to reduce shoulder injury risk. Numerous studies have investigated risk factors for shoulder injuries in athletes, such as changes in training load, decreased shoulder external rotator muscle strength, range of motion deficits, and scapular dyskinesis (2-6). However, the findings of previous studies are inconsistent.

It has been suggested that a minimum of 200 injuries are required to detect small to moderate risk factors with certainty (7). With this threshold in mind, many shoulder injury risk factor studies are likely to be statistically underpowered. Due to this fact, secondary syntheses using meta-analyses are needed to provide sufficient statistical power. The purpose of this study was to determine if scapular dyskinesis increases the risk of shoulder injury in athletes.

75% of shoulder injuries are recurrent and can lead to prolonged time away from sport.
Current evidence does not support the use of an isolated dynamic scapular dyskinesis test to identify athletes at risk of shoulder injury.


The design of this study was a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines and a pre-registered design protocol. The search keywords were categorized using a modified PICO

to unlock full access to this review and 989 more