Subscapularis partial tear nodule causing shoulder rotational triggering


Subscapularis nodules are rare causes of shoulder pain. There have been no reports of nodular swellings arising from the articular surface of the subscapularis tendon. We report two original cases of intra-articular subscapular nodules with reciprocal middle glenohumeral ligament thickening. In both cases, the patients had long standing deep-seated anterior shoulder pain with failed conservative treatments. Arthroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging and histology reports revealed nodules with underlying partial subscapularis tears. Arthroscopy may be needed to identify and successfully treat rare symptomatic nodules as causes of pain and clicking in the shoulder joint.

Level of evidence V.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. 1.

    Bae SJ, Shin MJ, Kim SM, Cho KJ (2002) Intra-articular elastofibroma of the shoulder joint. Skelet Radiol 31(3):171–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Barth J, Audebert B, Toussaint C, Charousset A, Godeneche N, Graveleau T et al (2012) Diagnosis of subscapularis tendon tears: are available diagnostic tests pertinent for a positive diagnosis? Orthop Traumatol Surg Res 98(8):S178–S185

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Burkart AC, Debski RE (2002) Anatomy and function of the glenohumeral ligaments in anterior shoulder instability. Clin Orthop Relat Res 400:32–39

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Debski RE, Wong EK, Woo SL, Sakane M, Fu FH, Warner JJ (1999) In situ force distribution in the glenohumeral joint capsule during anterior–posterior loading. J Orthop Res 17(5):769–776

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kim SH, Oh I, Park JS, Shin SK, Jeong WK (2005) Intra-articular repair of an isolated partial articular-surface tear of the subscapularis tendon. Am J Sports Med 33(12):1825–1830

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Kreuz PC, Reminger A, Lahm A, Herget G, Gächter A (2005) Comparison of total and partial traumatic tears of the subscapularis tendon. J Bone Joint Surg Br 87(3):348–351

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    O’Connell PW, Nuber GW, Mileski RA, Lautenschlager E (1990) The contribution of the glenohumeral ligaments to anterior stability of the shoulder joint. Am J Sports Med 18(6):579–584

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Sikka RS, Vora M, Edwards TB, Szabo I, Walch G (2004) Desmoid tumor of the subscapularis presenting as isolated loss of external rotation of the shoulder. A report of two cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am 86(1):159–164

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Many thanks to Mathew Purdom for providing histology images and reports.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Srinath Kamineni.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wani, Z., Mangattil, R., Butterfield, T. et al. Subscapularis partial tear nodule causing shoulder rotational triggering. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 23, 573–576 (2015).

Download citation


  • Rotator Cuff
  • External Rotation
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Desmoid Tumour
  • Subscapularis Tendon