Supraspinatus tendon micromorphology in individuals with subacromial pain syndrome

Federico Pozzi*, Amee L. Seitz, Hillary A. Plummer, Kira Chow, Gregory R. Bashford, Lori A. Michener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Study Design Cross-sectional cohort. Introduction Tendon collagen organization can be estimated by peak spatial frequency radius (PSFR) on ultrasound images. Characterizing PSFR can define the contribution of collagen disruption to shoulder symptoms. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this was to characterize the (1) supraspinatus tendon PSFR in participants with subacromial pain syndrome (SPS) and healthy controls; (2) PSFR between participants grouped on a tendon visual quality score; and (3) relationship between PSFR with patient-reported pain, function, and shoulder strength. Methods Participants with SPS (n = 20) and age, sex, and arm-dominance–matched healthy controls (n = 20) completed strength testing in scaption and external rotation, and patient-reported pain, and functional outcomes. Supraspinatus tendon ultrasound images were acquired, and PSFR was calculated for a region of interest 15 mm medial to the supraspinatus footprint. PSFR was compared between groups using an independent t-test and an analysis of variance to compare between 3 groups for visually qualitatively rated tendon abnormalities. Relationships between PSFR with pain, function, and strength were assessed using Pearson correlation coefficient. Results Supraspinatus tendon PSFR was not different between groups (P = .190) or tendon qualitative ratings (P = .556). No relationship was found between PSFR and pain, functional loss, and strength (P > .05). Conclusions Collagen disruption (PSFR) measured via ultrasound images of the supraspinatus tendon was not different between participants with SPS or in those with visually rated tendon defects. PSFR is not related to shoulder pain, function, and strength, suggesting that supraspinatus tendon collagen disorganization may not be a contributing factor to shoulder SPS. However, collagen disruption may not be isolated to a single region of interest. Level of Evidence 3b: case-control study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Peak spatial frequency radius
  • Shoulder strength
  • Tendinopathy
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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