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Extremities Feature

Rotator Cuff / Source: Wikimedia Commons and James Heilman, M.D.

Tendon Overuse Injuries and Surrounding Tissues

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Tue, January 10th, 2017

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For the first time ever, researchers have demonstrated the effect of rotator cuff tendon overuse, (tendinopathy), on surrounding tissues.

"This is an exciting finding as it is the first demonstration that overuse injuries may impact more than just the shoulder tendons. Thus, this study may provide motivation for further research in humans to better protect the shoulder joint as a whole from these types of injuries, " said Johnna Temenoff, Ph.D., senior author of the Journal of Orthopaedic Research study, in the December 21, 2017 news release.

Dr. Temenoff is professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech/Emory University. She told OTW, “Previous work has demonstrated that this rodent model of rotator cuff overuse caused damage to the supraspinatus tendon, particularly near the insertion to the humeral head. Therefore, we became interested in the effects of overuse on the nearby humeral head cartilage.”

“Using a rat treadmill running model of tendon overuse, our laboratory has shown for the first time the effect of rotator cuff tendon overuse, or tendinopathy, on surrounding tissues. Over a 10-week period of downhill running, both degeneration of the shoulder tendon and osteoarthritis-like changes to neighboring cartilage were observed via histology and/or microcomputed tomography imaging.”

“Further assessment of the quality of the cartilage in the shoulder in tendinopathy patients is warranted. Multiple tissues within the shoulder may be undergoing degeneration in rotator cuff overuse injuries.”

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