Supraspinatus Tendonitis Follow-up

Updated: Dec 03, 2018
  • Author: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Return to Play

Return to play is restricted until full, painless range of motion is restored; both rest- and activity-related pain are eliminated; and provocative impingement signs are negative. Isokinetic strength testing must be 90% compared with the contralateral side. Resumption of activities is completed gradually, first during practice, to build up endurance, work on modified technique/mechanics, and simulate a game situation. Patients must be free of symptoms. To prevent recurrence, the patient should continue flexibility and strengthening exercises after returning to sports activities.

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Complications

If rotator cuff tendonitis is not diagnosed and treated promptly and correctly, it can progress to rotator cuff degeneration and eventual tear. Other complications may include progression to adhesive capsulitis, cuff tear arthropathy, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Other complications may result from surgery, injections, physical therapy, or medications.

 

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Prevention

Primary prevention should be considered an integral part of the treatment of rotator cuff tendonitis. Educating patients at risk can circumvent the development of rotator cuff tendonitis. Athletes, particularly those involved in throwing and sports involving overhead actions, and laborers with repetitive shoulder stress should be instructed in proper warm-up techniques, specific strengthening techniques, and warning signs of early impingement.

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Prognosis

In general, the prognosis is good for rotator cuff tendonitis that is promptly and correctly diagnosed and treated. Of patients, 60-90% improve and are free of symptoms with conservative treatment. Surgical outcomes are also very promising for patients in whom a full trial of conservative therapy fails.

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Education

Patient education may improve the outcome because the patient is educated regarding avoidance of provocative activities, pathology, and proper shoulder arthrokinematics. Education should also stress proper warm-up techniques, specific strengthening techniques, and warning signs of early impingement. A proper home exercise program should be formulated and encouraged to prevent recurrence of symptoms.

For excellent patient education resources, visit eMedicineHealth's First Aid and Injuries Center. Also, see eMedicineHealth's patient education articles Tendinitis and Rotator Cuff Injury.

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