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Ann Biomed Eng. 2002 Sep;30(8):1057-63.

Rotator cuff tendinosis in an animal model: role of extrinsic and overuse factors.

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McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, 424 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081, USA.


The rat shoulder animal model has been used previously to study the role of intrinsic injury (modeled as an acute insult to the tendon), extrinsic injury (modeled as external subacromial impingement), and overuse factors on rotator cuff tendinosis. These studies demonstrated that it is possible to produce rotator cuff tendinosis with any one of these factors in isolation. The current study uses the rat shoulder model to study the roles of extrinsic compression, overuse, and overuse in combination with extrinsic compression, on the development of rotator cuff tendinosis. The results of this study demonstrate that the injury created by overuse plus extrinsic compression is greater than the injuries created by overuse or extrinsic compression alone, particularly when important biomechanical variables are considered. While ineffective in causing a change in supraspinatus tendon properties in animals with normal cage activity, extrinsic compression had a significant and dramatic effect when it was combined with overuse activity. Without an additional factor, such as overhead activity, the extrinsic compression alone may be insufficient to cause tendinosis. The results of the present study support the role of multiple factors in the etiology of some rotator cuff injuries.

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