Clin Should Elbow.  2021 Sep;24(3):166-171. 10.5397/cise.2021.00332.

Effects of steroid injection during rehabilitation after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea


This study aims to compare the clinical outcomes of steroid injections during the rehabilitation period after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ACRC).
Among patients who underwent ARCR, 117 patients who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria were enrolled. Pain and range of motion (ROM) recovery at the 3-, 6-, and 24-month follow-up visits and functional outcome at the 24-month follow-up were compared between 45 patients who received ultrasound-guided subacromial steroid injection at postoperative week 4 or 6 and 72 patients who did not. Functional outcome was assessed using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score and Constant score. Healing of the repaired tendon and retear were observed at the 6-month follow-up via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) arthrography.
At the 3-month follow-up, the steroid injection group showed lower visual analog scale scores than the control group (p<0.05) and showed faster recovery of forward flexion and internal rotation (p<0.05). From the 6-month follow-up, the two groups did not show differences in pain and ROM, and the ASES score and Constant score also did not significantly differ at the 24-month follow-up. The two groups did not differ in retear rate as determined by MRI or CT arthrography at the 6-month follow-up.
This study demonstrated that ultrasound-guided subacromial steroid injection at 4 or 6 weeks after ARCR leads to quick pain reduction and ROM recovery until 3 months after surgery. Therefore, subacromial steroid injection is speculated to be an effective and relatively safe method to assist rehabilitation.


Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair; Steroid injection; Range of motion; Stiffness; Pain; Rehabilitation
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