How to Tape a Winged Scapular

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Warm up the shoulder muscles before applying tape.
Warm up the shoulder muscles before applying tape. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Taping a winged scapula can make the difference between having an active or inactive shoulder. A damaged scapula -- shoulder blade -- can impair function in surrounding muscles and prevent you from engaging in everyday activities. A winged scapular refers to a shoulder blade that pushes out of position. Seeking professional physical and occupational therapy treatment is ideal. Additionally, the patient can take a session of acupuncture therapy to the rhomboids major and minor and the inferior trapezius muscles. This treatment can properly retract and stimulate muscles in preparation to tape the scapula for increased stability.

Sit the patient upright. Press the heel of a piece of Kinesio tape scapular tape into the center of the shoulder blade -- on the inferior trapezius muscles. Kinesio tape is shaped like a hand -- so be sure the strands -- or "fingers" -- are facing towards the opposite shoulder. Kinesio tape feeds information to the nervous system. For example, whenever shoulders move forward the Kinesio tape will send a message to the patient's senses to contract the muscles -- and avoid overextending.

Tell the patient to contract his scapula while you move forward with step three. Contracting the scapula engages the muscles and gives the tape a better hold over the treated area.

Stretch and press all strands outward to cover the scapula stabilizer muscles -- the trapezius and serratus anterior muscles, for example. Extend the strands until they stretch out like a hand grabbing the muscles -- and end before crossing over the spine. Press all strands firmly into the skin. Allow the patient to relax his shoulder.

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