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Scapular dyskinesis increases the risk of future shoulder pain by 43% in asymptomatic athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Darren Hickey,
  2. Veronica Solvig,
  3. Vinicius Cavalheri,
  4. Meg Harrold,
  5. Leanda Mckenna
  1. School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leanda Mckenna, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Science, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley WA 6102, Australia; l.mckenna{at}


Background It is unclear whether the presence of scapular dyskinesis increases the risk of developing shoulder pain in asymptomatic athletes.

Objectives To determine whether the presence of scapular dyskinesis in asymptomatic athletes increases the risk of developing shoulder pain by systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods A systematic search was conducted in the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database and SPORTDiscus. Prospective studies that assessed athletes for scapular dyskinesis and recorded incidents of shoulder pain were included. Study quality was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. Meta-analysis was conducted to derive a pooled risk ratio (RR) for the development of shoulder pain in athletes with scapular dyskinesis compared with those without scapular dyskinesis.

Results Five studies were included with a total of 419 athletes. Of the athletes with scapular dyskinesis, 35% (56/160) experienced shoulder pain during the follow-up, whereas 25% (65/259) of athletes without scapular dyskinesis experienced symptoms. The presence of scapular dyskinesis at baseline indicated a 43% increased risk of a shoulder pain event over a 9 to 24 months follow-up (RR=1.43, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.93).

Conclusions Athletes with scapular dyskinesis have 43% greater risk of developing shoulder pain than those without scapular dyskinesis.

  • Injury prevention
  • Athlete
  • Meta-analysis
  • Risk factor
  • Shoulder
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  • Contributors All five authors were responsible for the conception and design of this review. DH and VS conducted the search strategy, study selection, quality assessment and data extraction. LM acted as the third reviewer in cases of disagreement. DH and VC conducted the meta-analysis. DH and VS were primarily responsible for writing the manuscript. However, all five authors contributed substantially to interpreting findings, reviewing the manuscript and preparing the final submission.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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