Rotator cuff tears are a common shoulder injury, but they sometimes remain undiagnosed, as symptoms can be limited. Altered shoulder biomechanics can lead to secondary damage and degeneration. In biomechanical analyses, the shoulder (ie, the glenohumeral joint) is normally idealized as a ball-and-socket joint, even though a translation is often observed clinically. To date, no conclusive changes in glenohumeral translation have been reported in patients with rotator cuff tears, and it is unknown how an additional handheld weight that is comparable to those used during daily activities will affect glenohumeral translations in patients with rotator cuff tears.
This study aims to assess the load-induced glenohumeral translation (liTr) in patients with rotator cuff tears and its association with the load-induced changes in muscle activation (liMA).
Patients and asymptomatic controls will be recruited. Participants will fill out health questionnaires and perform 30° arm abduction and adduction trials, during which they will hold different handheld weights of a maximum of 4 kg while motion capture and electromyographic data are collected. In addition, fluoroscopic images of the shoulders will be taken for the same movements. Isometric shoulder muscle strength for abduction and rotation will be assessed with a dynamometer. Finally, shoulder magnetic resonance images will be acquired to assess muscle status and injury presence. The dose-response relationship between additional weight, liTr, and liMA will be evaluated.
Recruitment and data collection began in May 2021, and they will last until the recruitment target is achieved. Data collection is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. As of November 2022, data processing and analysis are in progress, and the first results are expected to be submitted for publication in 2023.
This study will aid our understanding of biological variations in liTr, the influence of disease pathology on liTr, the potential compensation of rotator cuff tears by muscle activation and size, and the association between liTr and patient outcomes. The outcomes will be relevant for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation planning in patients with rotator cuff tears.