What is the role of secondary impingement in the etiology of supraspinatus tendonitis?

Updated: Dec 04, 2017
  • Author: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Answer

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.


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