High Rate of Return to CrossFit Training After Arthroscopic Management of Rotator Cuff Tear.

Stefano Carbone, Viottorio Candela,Stefano Gumina


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Background: CrossFit is a conditioning program involving high-intensity exercises performed in rapid, successive repetitions with limited or no recovery time. The shoulder girdle is highly involved in most basic CrossFit training programs. Hypothesis: CrossFit athletes affected by rotator cuff tear may be successfully treated with arthroscopic surgery with a high rate of early return to CrossFit activities. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: Included in this study were athletes participating regularly in CrossFit training who had undergone arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. At a minimum follow-up of 24 months, we compared pre- and postoperative clinical outcome scores, including the Constant Score (CS), the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score, and a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, as well as imaging results. Participants completed a return-to-CrossFit questionnaire at the final follow-up, and changes in laboratory blood test results from preoperative to final follow-up were evaluated for association with outcomes and questionnaire responses. Results: A total of 22 CrossFit athletes (23 shoulders) completed the 24-month follow-up evaluation. Each athlete had undergone single-row rotator cuff tendon repair with additional procedures such as biceps tenodesis. All (100%) athletes returned to intensive CrossFit training at a mean 8.7 +/- 3.4 months after surgery (range, 6-15 months). CS and ASES scores improved between preoperative and final follow-up from 73 to 92 (P = .037) and from 71 to 95 (P = .035), respectively; VAS pain score improved from 7.2 preoperatively to 0.8 at final follow-up (P < .001). Imaging evaluation of the repaired rotator cuff tendon showed complete healing in 18 cases (78%) and incomplete healing in 5 (22%). Of the 5 patients with incomplete healing, 2 had lower clinical scores at follow-up. In their questionnaire responses, 13 (59%) participants indicated return to a higher level of fitness, 7 (32%) returned to the same level, and 2 (9%) returned to a lower level. We found a significant association between patients who indicated return to a higher level of CrossFit fitness and higher levels of creatine phosphokinase and testosterone from preoperative to final follow-up (P = .029 and .023). Conclusion: Arthroscopic repair of rotator cuff tendons led to 100% return to CrossFit participation at approximately 9 months of follow-up. All athletes had returned to sport by the final follow-up. Nevertheless, 2 patients reported a lower level of performance and showed scapular dyskinesis.
CrossFit,cuff repair,return to sports,anabolic androgenic steroids
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