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Management of Rotator Cuff Injuries in the Elite Athlete

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of pain and dysfunction for the elite athlete and can result in time loss from participation. This review highlights the current management of these injuries.

Recent Findings

Conservative management of rotator cuff injuries continues to be the “gold standard” in the elite athlete. This includes a comprehensive rehabilitation program, anti-inflammatories, and corticosteroid injections. Newer treatment techniques such as intramuscular dry needling and the use of biologics such as platelet-rich plasma and stem cells demonstrate early promising results; however, these modalities require further investigation to determine their effectiveness.

Summary

Rotator cuff injuries can range from contusions and tendinopathy to full-thickness tears. A comprehensive evaluation is needed to determine the extent of injury and appropriate plan of care. Management strategies can range from rehabilitation to operative intervention and are guided by the size of the tear, time of season, sport, performance limitations, and presence of concomitant pathology.

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Correspondence to Scott A. Rodeo.

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Leigh Weiss, Scott Rodeo, Dean Wang, Michael Hendel, Philip Buzzerio declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Rotator Cuff Repair

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Weiss, L.J., Wang, D., Hendel, M. et al. Management of Rotator Cuff Injuries in the Elite Athlete. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med 11, 102–112 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12178-018-9464-5

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Keywords

  • Rotator cuff
  • Elite athlete
  • Rehabilitation
  • Shoulder