Rotator cuff tendonitis in lymphedema: A retrospective case series

Joseph E. Herrera, Michael D. Stubblefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Herrera JE, Stubblefield MD. Rotator cuff tendonitis in lymphedema: a retrospective case series. To report rotator cuff tendonitis as a complication of lymphedema and to discuss the possible etiology and treatment options. Retrospective review of 8 cases. University hospital outpatient clinic. A total of 8 breast cancer patients with a history of lymphedema and ipsilateral shoulder pain. Patients with lymphedema and ipsilateral shoulder pain were diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis if all of the following 3 tests were positive: supraspinatus test, Neer's impingement test, and Hawkin's impingement test. Patients diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis were prescribed a nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and physical therapy (PT). Improvement in symptoms of shoulder pain at a 4- to 6-week follow-up, as measured by visual analog scale (VAS). Seven of 8 patients reported a subjective decrease in their symptoms of shoulder pain at a 4- to 6-week follow-up. The average improvement in shoulder pain as measured by VAS was a 4.5-point decrease from the original pain score given. One of 8 patients had a full-thickness supraspinatus tendon tear and required additional decongestive therapy and PT to obtain relief of symptoms. Rotator cuff tendonitis is a complication of lymphedema caused by internal derangement of tendon fibers, which may be subject to impingement, functional overload, and intrinsic tendinopathy. Conservative treatment with NSAIDs and PT is a safe and effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1939-1942
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume85
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cuff, rotator
  • Lymphedema
  • Rehabilitation
  • Tendonitis

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