Increased supraspinatus tendon thickness after exercise
This study found a significant increase in supraspinatus tendon thickness at 1 hour (7%) and 6 hours (11%) after fatigue loading exercise in people with painful rotator cuff (RC) tendinopathy.
In comparison, control tendons very slightly reduced in thickness in response to loading, but not beyond the relevant minimal detectable difference.
Loading the RC to fatigue also resulted in a reduced subacromial space, with recovery to baseline delayed up to 24 hours in people with RC tendinopathy.
23 people with painful RC tendinopathy and 20 pain-free controls were included in the study. The loading protocol included isokinetic concentric and eccentric shoulder external rotation and abduction exercises to fatigue measured by a 35% decrease in overall torque production during each exercise.
Supraspinatus tendon thickness and acromiohumeral distance were measured using ultrasound scans before exercises and at 1, 6 and 24 hours after exercise.
The results show that pathological RC tendons exhibit an altered loading response compared with a healthy tendon. The authors suggest rehabilitation programmes for rotator cuff tendinopathy need to take into account the potential for increased tendon thickness and reduced subacromial space after loading.
It may be advised to initially avoid loading to fatigue or to limit RC strengthening exercise to no more than one session per day, or even longer intervals in the early stages of rehabilitation to allow appropriate recovery periods after loading to fatigue.
> From: McCreesh et al., BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 3 (2018-01-26 05:39:10) e000279 (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.