Lateral Scapular Slide Test

Original Editor - Lilian Ashraf
Top Contributors - Lilian Ashraf

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Scapular dyskinesis which is the alteration in scapular position maybe caused by decreased muscle performance of scapular stabilizers. The lateral scapular slide test assesses the scapular asymmetry between both sides and the ability of the scapular stabilizer muscles to control the scapular position.[1]

The test measures the amount of scapular protraction in 3 positions of shoulder joint abduction, by measuring the distance from the midline to the medial boarder of the scapula.[2]

The test maybe used as a quantitative measure of scapular stabilizers muscles strength during rehabilitation program.[3]

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The scapular position is measured by taking the side-to-side differences between both sides in all 3 test positions. The measurements are taken from the inferior angle of the scapulae to the spinous process of the thoracic vertebrae on the same horizontal plane.

The test is done in 3 positions. With the arm abducted to 0, 45 and 90 degrees in the coronal plane.

  • Position 1 involves placing the shoulder in neutral position, with the arms relaxed at the sides.
  • Position 2 the humerus is placed in medial rotation and 45 degrees abduction, by positioning the patient’s hands around the waist.
  • Position 3 the humerus is placed in maximal medial rotation and 90 degrees abduction.

The test is positive when there is a difference of 1.5 cm when measurements are compared bilaterally.[1][3]


Evidence[edit | edit source]

A study by Odom et al, demonstrated poor diagnostic accuracy. The test demonstrated poor sensitivity and specificity in the 3 test positions.[1][5]

Another study by Shadmehr et al, also demonstrated poor diagnostic accuracy. The positive and negative likelihood ratios were from 0.94 to 1.22 and from 0.21 to 2.5, respectively. The test demonstrated high sensitivity and low specificity. The use of a caliper in this study instead of a tape could be the reason for improved sensitivity.[3][5]

The lateral scapular slide test is based on the assumption that normal shoulder girdle function is symmetrical. However, a study by Koslow et al, done on asymptomatic athletes, found the lateral scapular slide test to have low specificity of 26.8%. The finding of this study is in line with researches reporting that scapular resting position is highly variable between sides.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Odom CJ, Taylor AB, Hurd CE, Denegar CR. Measurement of scapular asymmetry and assessment of shoulder dysfunction using the lateral scapular slide test: a reliability and validity study. Physical therapy. 2001 Feb 1;81(2):799-809.
  2. Hong J, Barnes MJ, Leddon CE, Van Ryssegem G, Alamar B. Reliability of the sitting hand press-up test for identifying and quantifying the level of scapular medial border posterior displacement in overhead athletes. International journal of sports physical therapy. 2011 Dec;6(4):306.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Shadmehr A, Bagheri H, Ansari NN, Sarafraz H. The reliability measurements of lateral scapular slide test at three different degrees of shoulder joint abduction. British journal of sports medicine. 2010 Mar 1;44(4):289-93.
  4. Jessica Miles. Lateral Scapular Slide Test (LSST). Available from: http://www. [last accessed 4/8/2021]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wright AA, Wassinger CA, Frank M, Michener LA, Hegedus EJ. Diagnostic accuracy of scapular physical examination tests for shoulder disorders: a systematic review. British journal of sports medicine. 2013 Sep 1;47(14):886-92.
  6. Koslow PA, Prosser LA, Strony GA, Suchecki SL, Mattingly GE. Specificity of the Lateral Scapular Side Test in Asymptomatic Competitive Athletes. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2003 Jun;33(6):331-6.