Changes in tendon vascularity have been reported in painful tendons; however, the prevalence and distribution have not been investigated in young overhead athletes. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of 47 overhead athletes (male, 31; female, 16) aged 18 to 36 years with SAPS for >3 months. A sonographer graded the severity of the tendinopathy and area of vascularization. Ultrasound imaging was used to measure supraspinatus tendon thickness, vascularity, and resting subacromial space. A self-written program was used to semiquantify the intensity of vascularity, expressed as the vascular index. Results The majority (87.2%) of the participants had signs of tendinopathy in the supraspinatus tendon, and 40 (85.1%) of the tendinopathic tendons had vascularity. The majority (66.0%) of the vascularized subjects presented with minimal increase in vascularity, and 19.1% had moderate to severe vascularization. Most (79.2%) of the vascularization was observed in the pericortical region. The vascular index was negatively correlated with the resting subacromial space in male athletes with a reduced subacromial space (ρ = −0.63; P = .038). Conclusion Of overhead athletes with SAPS, 87.2% had supraspinatus tendinopathy with minimal to moderate vascularization, with the majority of vascularization occurring in the pericortical region. In male athletes with a reduced subacromial space, greater vascularity in the supraspinatus tendon was associated with a smaller resting subacromial space.
- overhead athletes
- pathology of supraspinatus tendon
- subacromial pain syndrome
- subacromial space
- supraspinatus tendon thickness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine