Objective: To measure efficacy of a simple maneuver in the conservative treatment of rotator cuff syndrome.
Design: Before-and-after study with mean 30-month follow-up (range: 9 months–8 years).
Setting: Private practice.
Participants: Fifty consecutive outpatients with magnetic resonance imaging–confirmed partial or full-thickness supraspinatus tears.
Intervention: A single partial weight-bearing maneuver involving triangular forearm support (TFS) was repeated in physical therapy for a mean 5 sessions (range: 1 session–24 sessions).
Main Outcome Measures: Maximal painless active abduction and flexion before and after performing TFS, pain on maximal abduction and flexion before and after performing TFS, and at mean 2.5-year follow-up.
Results: Mean painless active abduction increased from 73.7° to 162.8° (P < .001; SD = 32.3); mean painless active flexion increased from 84.1° to 165.4° (P < .001; SD = 36.7). In 2.5 years follow-up mean combined painless abduction and flexion active range of motion was 171.5 (P < .001; SD = 14.4). In immediate post-TFS testing and after 2.5 years mean visual analogue scale pain rating during maximal abduction and flexion fell from 5.46 to 0.97 (P < .001; SD = 2.6).
Conclusions: These values compare favorably with most surgical and nonsurgical studies. Triangular forearm support plus physical therapy appear to improve abduction and flexion and reduce pain immediately and in the longer term after rotator cuff syndrome.