Scapulothoracic joint

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 07 Oct 2021

The scapulothoracic joint (also known as the scapulocostal joint) is a not an anatomical joint as it does not refer to two opposing bones, but to a physiological joint of the pectoral girdle. The scapula is held against the thoracic wall by many muscles and the strut of the clavicle secondarily attaching it to the manubrium.

The scapulothoracic joint allows for the complex scapular movements in relation to the thoracic cage: elevation and depression, protraction and retraction, and medial and lateral rotation.


The scapulothoracic joint allows for six distinct movements facilitated by the following muscles:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: scapulothoracic joint movements
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  • Figure 2: pectoral girdle musculature
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  • Figure 3
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