Suprascapular Neuropathy in Overhead Athletes: A Systematic Review of Aetiology and Treatment Options

The Open Orthopaedics Journal 30 Aug 2019 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874325001913010177


Suprascapular neuropathy is often overlooked as a cause for shoulder pain in overhead athletes and can be misdiagnosed for many months, even years. With recent advancements in the understanding of the condition as well as its treatment methods, suprascapular neuropathy is now being diagnosed more frequently. However with a multitude of treatment options, it can be difficult to choose the optimal management. In this systematic review, we have carried out a detailed literature search about suprascapular neuropathy looking into evidence-based diagnostic workup and treatment modalities available. Repetitive overhead activities, rotator cuff tear and direct compression of the nerve by space-occupying lesion are important etiologies for suprascapular neuropathy. Whilst MRI is widely used for the identification of space-occupying lesions and rotator cuff injury; Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) remain gold standards for confirming injury to the nerve. Conservative treatment modalities including physiotherapy and activity modification, nerve blocks, arthroscopic and open surgical interventions are the main treatment options for suprascapular neuropathy.

Keywords: Suprascapular Neuropathy, Entrapment, Nerve Palsy, Overhead athletes, Shoulder pain, Arthroscopy, Rotator cuff.
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