Does Scapular Motion Regress with Aging and is It Restricted in Patients with Idiopathic Frozen Shoulder?

Kazuhiro Endo1, Junichiro Hamada2, *, Kazuaki Suzuki2, Yoshihiro Hagiwara3, Takayuki Muraki4, Hiroshi Karasuno5
1 Department of Rehabilitation, Kuwano Kyoritsu Hospital, 2-9-18 Koriyama, Fukushima 963-8034 Japan
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kuwano Kyoritsu Hospital, Koriyama, Fukushima Japan
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan
4 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
5 Koriyama Institute of Health Science, School of Physical Therapy, Koriyama, Fukushima, Japan

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© Endo et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Kuwano Kyoritsu Hospital, Department of Rehabilitation, 2-9-18 Koriyama, Fukushima 963-8034 Japan; Email:



It has been reported that the amount of posterior tilt and upward rotation in scapular motions decreases with aging. The purposes of the current study were to investigate age related scapular motion regression and scapular restriction in patients with idiopathic frozen shoulder (IFS).


The groups were recruited as follows: two groups of 50 asymptomatic subjects aged in their twenties and fifties, and 56 patients with IFS. We passively moved the scapula toward 8 directions: elevation/depression; upward/downward rotation; external/internal rotation; and anterior/posterior tilt. The grading of scapular motion was ranged from 0 to 3 (3, normal; and 0, severe restriction) and the score for each direction and the total aggregated score for all directions were calculated.


Scapular restriction was present in 3 subjects (6%) in the normal 20s group, 10 (14%) in the 50s group, and 51 (91%) in the IFS group. The total score between the normal 20s and 50s groups did not show statistical difference; however, greater significance was present between the normal 50s group and the IFS group (p < 0.01). There was statistical significance in depression (p < 0.01), downward rotation (p < 0.01), and posterior tilt (p < 0.01) among the 3 groups.


Depression, downward rotation, and posterior tilt substantially regress with aging. Scapular motions towards depression, downward rotation, external rotation, and posterior tilt are severely restricted in the IFS group.