Diagnosis and Management of Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears

A Comprehensive Review

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, MPH; Jaya Shanmugam, MD; Karen Briggs, MPH; Stephanie C. Petterson, MPT, PhD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021;29(24):1031-1043. 

In This Article

Diagnostic Injections

Selective, diagnostic injections of an anesthetic (eg, lidocaine) into either the subacromial space or glenohumeral joint may help confirm suspicion of pathology if the patient experiences persistent or recurrent symptoms. Provocative examination maneuvers are repeated after the injection to assess for alleviation of symptoms. Pain relief with a subacromial injection is suggestive of subacromial impingement with or without a RC tear. If symptom relief is achieved with a subacromial injection, we caution against proceeding to the operating room. Symptom relief after a glenohumeral injection increases suspicion of intraarticular pathologies (eg, labral tears, internal impingement, osteoarthritis, and adhesive capsulitis).