Q. Why is my one side shoulder blade positioned high with evident tendon popping?

Answered by
Dr. Chirag Ashok Berry
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 26, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am 20 years old. I have been playing rugby league for 13 years now. I have not broken anything, but I dislocated my elbow three years ago, and I recently noticed my shoulder blade is pushed up. I can feel it is positioned high and clearly noticeable by viewing and comparing it to the other side. When I lift my arm, I can feel my tendon popping over the top of my shoulder blade, and there is a tingling sensation.

Dr. Chirag Ashok Berry

Orthopedics And Traumatology Spine Health Spine Surgery


Welcome to icliniq.com.

From what I understand, it seems that you may be having a winging scapula. The cause of winging is a weakness in your serratus anterior muscle due to nerve injury. This is quite possible in contact sports with recurrent stretch as you tilt your head the other way, and the shoulder is pushed down when tackling. It can also be due to compression of the nerve from trauma to the side of your chest.

This is most often a partial injury to the nerve and is likely to recover with time. It may, however, be a slow recovery taking up to six months. Another possibility may be an old fracture of the scapula (shoulder blade). The fracture may have healed with some bumpiness and may cause the popping sound as it moves. Do you remember any recent trauma to your shoulder blade?

It may be prudent to have it evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. While your description matches that of a winging scapula, it may rarely be something else.

I hope this helps.

Differential diagnosis:

Old scapular fracture.

Probable diagnosis:

Winging scapula.

Treatment plan:

Consult an orthopedic surgeon, wait and watch if it is truly a winging scapula.

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