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Shoulder Girdle Upper Extremity

The Shoulder Girdle and Upper Extremity

The Shoulder Girdle is made up of the:

Clavicle (collarbone)

Scapula (shoulder-blade)

Upper Extremity (arm all the way down to, and including the hand)

The Shoulder Girdle sits atop the rib cage with its only joint attachment between the clavicle and the Sternum (at the front) – allowing for limited movements in all directions.

The other end of the clavicle meets the Scapula at the outer most part, where we consider the shoulder to be.


The two Scapula (shoulder blades) float flat, sliding along the back of the Rib Cage with muscle attachments providing the only positioning and support. This allows for a more versatile structure than the pelvis, permitting for a larger variety of movements.

However, this leads us to what can go wrong.

Too much muscular activity in any one or more muscles will create limitations and/or changes to movement and postural patterns.

For Example:

Shoulder GirdleImagine the Upper Trapezius (the muscle that sits on top of your shoulders just below your ears).

If this tightens and shortens as is easily possible to do in stressful situation, then the shoulder blades will lift, and the arms may turn either in or out – all leading to a change from a ‘normal’ resting position.

Try this exercise yourself, by lifting your shoulders up towards your ears.

  • What happens to your shoulders and arms?
  • Where is your head and neck sitting?
  • How are the muscles along your spine reacting?
  • Poor use of muscle function can often lead to changes in posture and can lead to pain and injury.
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