Rotator Cuff Tears

  • • Examine the feasibility of a closed-chain exercise rehabilitation protocol for rotator cuff tear treatment.
    • Assessing patient outcomes and functional shoulder performance following rehabilitation in patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears.

    Rehabilitation of Patients with Full-thickness Rotator Cuff Tears: Planning and Pilot Study for Feasibility and Efficacy

    Closed-chain exercises have been used extensively in physical therapy to treat many impairments, including shoulder pain. This approach may improve stability and decrease stress on the rotator cuff. The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility of a 5-month closed-chain rehabilitation protocol for patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears. Secondarily, the effects of this protocol on outcomes, shoulder pain, strength, movement, and muscle activity will be assessed.

    Do you have a rotator cuff tear?

    We are inviting individuals between the ages of 44 and 85 who have a full-thickness rotator cuff tear and have not participated in physical therapy within the last 3 months.

    What will you do?


    If you qualify we will perform an in depth evaluation of your shoulder. You will fill out questionnaires. We will take pictures of your shoulder using ultrasound. We will measure your level of pain, range of motion, strength, and function. Shoulder movement will also be measured with motion analysis technology that uses sensors that are placed on your torso and arms. We will evaluate how you lift your arm. Testing for this evaluation will take approximately two hour. We will test you 3 times over the course of the 5-month study.

    Each session will take place at the USC Physical Therapy Associates and will last about one hour. This intervention has two stages and will last for a total of 5 months.
    Stage 1 – Physical Therapy: You will participate in multiple supervised physical therapy sessions. Two, 1-hour sessions per week will be completed for up to 12 weeks. A licensed physical therapist will provide the treatment. You will perform six specific exercises for your shoulder along with stretching and aerobic exercise.
    Stage 2 – Gym Program: You will participate in multiple supervised exercise session. Two, 1-hour sessions per week will be completed for up to 12 weeks. A health care professional trained in exercise will supervise you during each visit. The same six exercises will be used during this phase, but the resistance will be increased to improve strength. 


    You will receive a maximum compensation of $200 for taking part in this study. You will receive $40 for each of 3 evaluation sessions. At the end of the study, you will also receive a bonus of $80 for fully completing the exercise program and evaluations.

    For more information, please contact the COOR Lab:
    or call 323-224-5032

    Print Study Brochure >>

    Funding Information: Barbara Fried, Fried Companies, Inc.
    IRB #HS-15-00771