The muscle is inserted along the medial border of the scapula between the superior and inferior angles along with being inserted along the thoracic vertebrae. The muscle is divided into three named parts depending on their points of insertions:
All three parts described above pull the scapula forward around the thorax, which is essential for anteversion of the arm. As such, the muscle is an antagonist to the rhomboids. However, when the inferior and superior parts act together, they keep the scapula pressed against the thorax together with the rhomboids and therefore these parts also act as synergists to the rhomboids. The inferior part can pull the lower end of the scapula laterally and forward and thus rotates the scapula to make elevation of the arm possible. Additionally, all three parts can lift the ribs when the shoulder girdle is fixed, and thus assist in respiration.
A winged scapula is associated with damage or a contusion to the long thoracic nerve of the shoulder and / or weakness in the Serratus Anterior muscle. If the long thoracic nerve is damaged or bruised it can cause paralysis of the serratus anterior muscle and winging of the scapular or shoulder blade.
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