Backgrounds There have been many reports describing that the capsular fibrosis of the shoulder joint is the main cause of frozen shoulder, whereas others reported the significance of subacromial impingement as an etiological factor. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contact pressure between the coracoacromial arch and the rotator cuff tendons to clarify the contact phenomenon in shoulders with joint contracture. Methods Fourteen fresh-frozen cadaveric shoulders were used. Specimens were divided into two groups: normal group (8 shoulders, definition: more than 61° of flexion and abduction and more than 21° of external rotation) and joint contracture group (6 shoulders, definition: less than 60° of flexion and abduction and less than 20° of external rotation). Contact pressure and area beneath the coracoacromial arch were measured by a flexible force sensor during flexion, abduction, internal and external rotation in adduction and abduction, extension and horizontal extension motions. Results The peak contact pressure under the acromion was observed at 90° in flexion and abduction in the normal group, whereas that in the contracture group was observed at 30° in flexion (P = 0.037) and at 30° in abduction (P = 0.041). Contact pressure in the contracture group was significantly higher than that in the normal group at 20° and 30° of abduction (P = 0.043, P = 0.041, respectively). There were no significant differences of contact pressure during other motions. Although no significant differences of contact pressure beneath the coracoacromial ligament were observed, contact area significantly increased in extension and horizontal extension motion. Conclusion The contact between the acromion and the rotator cuff was observed in lower angles of flexion and abduction in shoulders with contracture than in those without. When treating patients with shoulder contracture, we need to perform rehabilitation taking such an abnormal movement into consideration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine