Faculty Advisor(s)

Michael Fillyaw

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2014 Taylor LaCouture


Background and purpose: Rotator cuff repair surgeries are very common and there are many different post-operative rehabilitation protocols available, but there is little to no literature on pre-operative therapy. The purpose of this case report is to investigate the effectiveness of pre-operative passive range of motion (ROM), joint mobilization and exercises for a patient with both a torn rotator cuff and a suspected neuropraxic peripheral nerve injury. Case Description: The patient was a healthy 47-year-old male with no prior medical or surgical history. He was referred to outpatient physical therapy for pre-operative joint mobilization and exercise for his left shoulder, which he anteriorly dislocated in a snowboarding accident. He also reported progressive loss of function and sensation in his left distal upper extremity (UE), which began 1-2 days after his accident. He was seen for four physical therapy sessions including the initial evaluation prior to undergoing rotator cuff surgery. Outcomes: The patient reported decreased pain, and improved sensation and demonstrated improved motor control of his left distal UE; but showed little measurable improvement in the QuickDASH functional outcome measure during the short time before his rotator cuff surgery. Discussion: Although the patient was only seen for a short period of time, and demonstrated little improvements on the QuickDASH, pre-operative physical therapy may still be effective for rotator cuff repairs. The patient reported decreased pain levels and improved motor control and sensation of his left distal UE. He also reported feeling less anxious about his surgery and better prepared for post-operative rehabilitation.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here: http://dune.une.edu/pt_studcrposter/7/.



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