Early activation or a more protective regime after arthroscopic subacromial decompression — a description of clinical changes with two different physiotherapy treatment protocols — a prospective, randomized pilot study with a two-year follow-up

The objective of this study was to describe clinical changes with two protocols of physiotherapy following arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASD) over two years. The traditional group started with active assisted range of motion exercises on the day of surgery, dynamic exercises for the rotator cuff after six weeks and strengthening exercises after eight weeks. The progressive group started active assisted range of motion and dynamic exercises for the rotator cuff on the day of surgery. Both groups showed significant improvements in pain during activity and at rest, in range of motion in extension and abduction, in strength of external rotation and in function. After two years, the majority of patients achieved ?160° in flexion, ?175° in abduction and 80° in external rotation, the traditional achieved 67 and the progressive group 87 with Constant score.

Early activation using a comprehensive, well-defined and controlled physiotherapy protocol can be used safely after arthroscopic subacromial decompression.

Clinical Rehabilitation,2008, 22(10-11), 951-965

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