Supraspinatus tendonitis is a common cause of shoulder pain in athletes whose sports involve throwing and
overhead motions such as swimming. Overuse or repetitive microtrauma sustained in the overhead position
may contribute to impingement and rotator cuff tendonitis.
Supraspinatus tendonitis is often attributed to impingement, which is seldom mechanical in athletes. Rotator cuff tendonitis in this population may be related to subtle instability and therefore may be secondary to such factors as eccentric overload, muscle imbalance, and glenohumeral instability or labral lesions. This has led to the concept of secondary impingement, which is defined as rotator cuff impingement that occurs secondary to a functional decrease in the supraspinatus outlet space due to underlying instability of the glenohumeral joint.
Secondary impingement may be the most common cause in young athletes who use overhead motions and who frequently place repetitive large stresses on the static and dynamic glenohumeral stabilizers, resulting in microtrauma and attenuation of the glenohumeral ligamentous structures and leading to subclinical glenohumeral instability. Such instability places increased stress on the dynamic stabilizers of the glenohumeral joint, including the rotator cuff tendon. These increased demands may lead to rotator cuff pathology such as partial tearing or tendonitis, and, as the rotator cuff muscles fatigue, the humeral head translates anteriorly and superiorly, impinging on the coracoacromial arch, which leads to rotator cuff inflammation. In these patients, treatment should be directed at the underlying instability.
Treatment with Tendonworks®
Given the above it is clear that conditions affecting the supraspinatus tendon have many causes and presentations and as such a clear and accurate diagnosis is critical to ensure that a condition is treated appropriately. With particular reference to the efficacy of Tendonworks, the unit has been designed to be particularly applicable for non-inflammatory conditions. Therefore, before a treatment regime is prescribed using Tendonworks this fact should be confirmed.
For degenerative conditions and non-inflammatory partial tears Tendonworks can make a significant contribution to a treatment and rehabilitation regime. Because there are so many different factors that can contribute to similar symptoms of the supraspinatus tendon it would be irresponsible of Synapse to provide outline examples of rehabilitation regimes. Synapse believes that that an appropriately qualified sports practitioner can advise following the diagnostic process.