Neovascularization prevalence in the supraspinatus of patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy
It is often speculated that neovascularization – i.e. the ingrowth of new microvasculature as a reaction to tissue damage – may be a cause for pain in patients with tendinopathy. By analogy, the presumed working mechanism for treatments leading to an improvement in pain, such as eccentric exercise, is a reduction in neovascularization.
In this trial, ultrasound was employed to compare neovascularization between 20 patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy and asymptomatic age, gender and hand dominance matched controls. No differences were found: of the patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy, 6 (30%) had neovascularization – however, in the asymptomatic controls, neovascularization was identified in 5 cases (25%).
The higher prevalence of neovascularization in tendons at other sites may be related to their different morphology: for instance, more vascular tissue is present around the Achilles and patellar tendons. On top of that, especially the flat rotator cuff tendons may be susceptible to a “wringing-out” effect. > From: Kardouni et al., Clin J Sport Med 23 (2013) 444-449. All rights reserved to Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
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