Faculty Advisor(s)

Kirsten Buchanan

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2014 Samuel Lasher


Background and Purpose: Rotator cuff tendinopathy (RCT) is a chronic tendon injury that can have significant impact on an individual’s occupation, recreation and personal life. Currently there is a paucity of information detailing physical therapy (PT) interventions for individuals with RCT, who must continue working. The purpose of this case report was to report a clinical experience detailing the PT management of a patient with RCT, who secondary to occupational obligations must continue to participate in activities harmful to her condition. Case Description: The patient was a 44 year-old, female, who worked as a manual laborer. She was diagnosed with left rotator cuff syndrome by her primary care physician (PCP) after experiencing shoulder pain at work, 7 months prior to her initial physical therapy (PT) evaluation. Examination revealed functional limitations secondary to impairments of pain, strength, range of motion and posture. Interventions included stretching, strengthening, postural suggestions and a focus on rest and modification. Outcomes: The patient’s impairments fluctuated from treatment to treatment. Her presentation was related to activities she had participated in. Throughout the episode of care, her condition showed no significant improvements or deteriorations. As demonstrated by the Upper Extremity Functional Index, she did not progress 9 points that would have demonstrated the minimal clinically important difference. Discussion: Physical therapists commonly treat patients who are unable to fully comply to their plan of care. Although improvements were anticipated, the patient made no significant improvements. Daily activities, rest, functional status and pain affect outcomes of PT management of patients with RCT. Future research is warranted for patients with RCT in order to investigate the variance in results of conservative PT with proper rest, versus conservative PT for those who participate in manual labor. Research may seek to determine specific frequency and duration of interventions and rest for optimal results.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here: http://dune.une.edu/pt_studcrposter/37.



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