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Am J Phys Med. 1987 Jun;66(3):109-20.

Muscular compensatory mechanism in the presence of a tendinitis of the supraspinatus.


The aim of this study was to assess the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the middle part of the deltoid and of the supraspinatus muscles in subjects suffering from supraspinatus tendinitis. This experimental group (N = 10) was compared to a control group (N = 10). Each subject performed three isometric contractions for each of four pre- determined levels (5, 20, 35 and 50%) of their maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) during shoulder abduction. These contractions were carried out at angles of 0 degree and 45 degrees of abduction. The EMG signals obtained for each subject were integrated and normalized in a Z score form. Trend analysis, performed on the data of each of the two groups, revealed the existence of a significant (p less than 0.001) linear relationship between the integrated EMG (IEMG) and torque levels for each muscle investigated, at both angles of abduction. Furthermore, in the control group, similar EMG amplitudes were obtained for each muscle at these two angles of abduction. However, in the experimental group, the IEMG of the deltoid muscle showed a significant decrease in activity relative to the activity of the supraspinatus at an angle of 45 degrees of abduction (ANOVA, p less than 0.05). It is suggested that this inhibition of the deltoid reflects a compensatory mechanism. The purpose of this mechanism could be to prevent the compression of the affected supraspinatus tendon between the humeral head and the acromion that could occur while abducting the arm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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