Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson




The scapula is the first link in the upper extremity kinetic chain. Analysis of the applied anatomy and biomechanics of the scapular link allows the physical therapist to develop pathomechanical models for shoulder injuries. The current health care trend of developing rehabilitation protocols based on sound anatomical, physiological, and biomechanical principles necessitates a strong background in the structure and function of the shoulder.

The purpose of this review of the literature is to provide a compilation of information regarding scapular anatomy and function. The paper is organized into four chapters. Chapter one discusses the phylogenetic and embryological development of the scapula. Chapter two reviews the scapular bursae and scapulometry. Chapter three reviews the postural and static position of the scapula, analysis of the scapular plane, scapulohumeral rhythm, and scapular biomechanics. There is a current void in physical therapy literature regarding comprehensive scapula anatomy and biomechanics. This paper will fill that void. The paper is designed to educate the therapist on the anatomy and function of the scapula, thus giving the therapist an anatomical and biomechanical background to evaluate current shoulder rehabilitation protocols.