Tolerance and effectiveness of eccentric vs. concentric muscle strengthening in rotator cuff partial tears and moderate to severe shoulder pain. A randomized pilot study

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. Conservative care is the most common first line of treatment for degenerative rotator cuff tears.
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Degenerative rotator cuff tears are the most common cause of shoulder pain (1). The first line of treatment for rotator cuff tears is typically conservative, with the goal of facilitating improved muscle and joint function and healing of the tear via therapeutic exercise (2).

Despite the popularity of eccentric exercise for tendon injuries, previous research on eccentric versus concentric exercise for shoulder pain has proven inconclusive (3). The purpose of this study was to evaluate tolerance to resistance exercise and compare the effect of eccentric versus concentric exercise on function, pain, strength, and tendon structure in patients with partial thickness rotator cuff tears.

Degenerative rotator cuff tears are the most common cause of shoulder pain.
There is typically no need to delay lightweight strength training until these patients are pain-free.


26 patients (mean age = 54) were enrolled in this study. Both groups performed identical exercises and programs with the exception of tempo, which was used to emphasize the eccentric vs concentric. The experimental group (n=14) performed slow eccentrics with

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