Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Aged; Rotator Cuff Injuries -- rehabilitation; Rotator Cuff Injuries -- therapy; Case Reports


Background and Purpose: According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, previous studies have found the prevalence of rotator cuff tears may exceed 50% in individuals older than age 65. Since this age group is the fastest growing of the U.S. population, rotator cuff pathology is sure to become a more significant problem in the future. With this information, it is important to continue research on rotator cuff rehabilitation following arthroscopic surgery.

Case Description: This case report describes the physical therapy interventions and functional outcomes of a 58-year-old patient who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon. The patient was scheduled to attend physical therapy sessions three times each week for seven weeks. During his sessions the main focus was on decreasing his pain and increasing the range of motion of his shoulder joint, as well as strengthening and stretching the musculature of the rotator cuff.

Outcome: Following seven weeks of physical therapy, the patient met all of the long-term and short-term goals that were set for him. He was cleared by the physician to return to work.

Discussion: This patient regained functional recovery in just over three months post surgery. I believe this patient recovered quickly due to several factors. These factors include his prior level of muscular strength, the size of the rotator cuff tear, his compliance with physical therapy and his home exercise program, and his high motivation to return to work.