Snapping Scapula Specialist

Sports Medicine Physician

Are you experiencing shoulder blade pain and a grating, snapping or grinding sound in the scapula area? If so, you may have scapulothoracic bursitis, or more commonly known as snapping scapula. Snapping scaupla specialist, Dr. Mark Getelman provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Los Angeles who have developed snapping scapula. Contact Dr. Getelman’s team today!

An Overview on Snapping Scapula (Scapulothoracic Bursitis)

The scapulothoracic joint is located where the scapula (shoulder blade) and the thorax (chest wall) glide against each other. It is estimated over one third of all movement of the shoulder joint occurs at this location. The underlying scapulothoracic bursa, a  small fluid filled sac, aids in the movement of the shoulder blade and chest wall. When inflammation of the bursa occurs from an injury or repetitive use, scapulothoracic bursitis may occur. Scapulothoracic bursitis, also known as snapping scapula, causes shoulder blade pain and a grating, snapping or grinding sound in the scapula area. Dr. Mark Getelman, Van Nuys, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California area shoulder specialist, is available to assist patients with snapping scapula syndrome and return them to the activities they love.

Snapping scapula typically begins when the soft tissues between the shoulder blade and chest wall thicken and become inflamed from overuse. The inflammation is caused when the muscles underneath the scapula become weak and cause the scapula to become too close to the chest wall and functions poorly leading to scapulothoracic dyskinesis. When this occurs, patients experience grinding during certain movements, leading to the inflammation of the bursa and pain.

Scapulothoracic Bursitis Symptoms

Scapulothoracic bursitis causes shoulder blade pain, as well as a snapping or grinding sound (crepitus) when the scapula glides along the chest wall.

Scapulothoracic Bursitis Diagnosis

To begin a snapping scapula diagnosis, Dr. Getelman will review the patient’s medical history and perform a physical examination to carefully evaluate the shoulder blade pain and its function. A series of X-rays, an MRI scan and/or a CT scan may be ordered to rule out bone and soft tissue injuries.

Are you experiencing snapping scapula symptoms?

Schedule an office consultation with Dr. Getelman today.

Scapulothoracic Bursitis Treatment


Dr. Getelman usually recommends conservative treatment for patients suffering from scapulothoracic bursitis. In order to reduce shoulder blade pain, a combination of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy may be prescribed. Restoration of proper scapular function will typically eliminate the symptoms. If pain is still present, a steroid injection may be administered.


Surgery is rarely required for snapping scapula and is typically reserved for patients who fail extended  non-surgical treatment. Dr. Getelman  may then rarely discuss an arthroscopic surgical option to remove the inflamed bursa and any bone spurs.

For more information on scapulothoracic bursitis, or for more resources on snapping scapula, please contact the office of Dr. Mark Getelman – shoulder specialist located in the Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los, Angeles, California area.