Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tear by Itself Does Not Cause Shoulder Pain or Muscle Weakness in Baseball Players.

Review written by Dr Michael Reiman info

Key Points

  1. The rate of shoulder pain did not differ between baseball players with rotator cuff (RTC) tears and those with intact rotator cuffs.
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The overhead, repetitive motion of baseball is postulated as a reason that partial thickness rotator cuff (RTC) tears have been common in baseball players (2, 3). The repetitive throwing is suspected to lead to these partial tears in the undersurface of the posterior half of the supraspinatus and anterior half of the infraspinatus tendons. The forceful internal impingement of these tendons against the posterior superior glenoid rim and labrum during throwing is a recognized cause of rotator cuff tendinopathy and articular-sided partial thickness rotator cuff tears (4). The purpose of this study was to compare levels of shoulder pain and function between baseball players with vs without rotator cuff tears.

The overhead, repetitive motion of baseball is a potential reason that partial thickness rotator cuff (RTC) tears are common in this population.
Imaging is not always representative of function and status.


87 male university baseball players (38 pitchers and 49 position players; average age of 19.5 years; mean throwing career of 11.5 years) were examined during a full-participation annual team medical check. None of the players had any history of surgery

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