What are the criteria for return to play in rotator cuff injuries?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Return to play criteria should be individualized for every player. [35] General criteria require the athlete to experience no pain with rest or activity, full strength in muscles across the affected joint, pain-free shoulder ROM with normal ST motion, and negative provocative tests (eg, Neer impingement test, Hawkins impingement test).

An athlete who returns to his or her sport too soon tends to alter throwing mechanics and risks injuries not only to the same shoulder, but also to the elbow, hip, and spine. Resumption of activities should be gradual, and activity intensity may need to be modified in response to recurrence of symptoms. Imaging findings alone should not be used to determine return to play.

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