Scapular lateral rotation

Last revised by Edward Zhou on 7 Oct 2021

Scapular lateral rotation describes the rotation of the scapula (scapulothoracic joint) such that the glenoid fossa faces upwards - thus it may also be called upward rotation. This motion allows elevation of the humerus as seen in abduction of the arm. It is almost always associated with scapular protraction. It is important to note that scapular movement does not occur in isolation - it requires movement at the sternoclavicular and acromioclavicular joints. Its opposite movement is medial rotation

The muscles primarily responsible for lateral rotation are the trapezius and the serratus anterior. Some resistance to motion is provided by the rhomboid major and minor muscles 1,2.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: Scapulothoracic joint movements
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  • Figure 2: Muscles that position that pectoral girdle (diagram)
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