Rotator cuff disorders encompass approximately 20% of all outpatient physical therapy referrals. Rehabilitation can be effective for the spectrum of patients with rotator cuff disease from acute episodes of tendinitis to chronic, full thickness tears. Emerging evidence suggests patients are likely to respond based on a number factors including history and physical presentation. Controversy exists over the optimal rehabilitation program, with respect to timing of rehabilitation, optimal dose of supervised exercise, home exercise programs versus supervised, use of manual therapy, and the type of manual therapy techniques.
This webinar will provide the participant the most current understanding of the mechanisms of rotator cuff disease, outline an approach to an accurate differential diagnosis, and provide an overview of the manual therapy and exercise interventions based on the best available evidence. The webinar will use current literature as well as results from published and ongoing research examining therapy outcomes for patients with rotator cuff disorders. Upon completion the participant will be able to implement the techniques and strategies presented to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

Level of Instruction:  Intermediate

Course Objectives

  • Identify the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of rotator cuff disease.
  • Identify the key components of the patient history, physical examination, and patient oriented outcome measures.
  • Identify subjective and objective findings for an accurate differential diagnosis and resulting likely patient prognosis.
  • Identify evidence based intervention strategies.
  • Identify treatment efficacy/effectiveness based on impairment resolution as related to patient outcomes.

Course Agenda

  • Incidence/prevalence, mechanisms, and patient oriented outcomes for patients diagnosed with rotator cuff disease
  • Evidence Based History, Examination, and Prognosis of patients with rotator cuff disease
  • Evidence Based Intervention Strategies



CHARLES THIGPEN, PT, PhD, ATC, is a clinician, educator and researcher. He completed his PhD in Human Movement Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and has been presenting nationally on shoulder dysfunction and rehabilitation in both the academic and continuing education arenas. He is an assistant consulting professor at Duke University Schools of Physical Therapy and Medicine. He has multiple peer-reviewed publications and book chapters related to prevention and treatment of shoulder pain.
He is currently on the NATA Free Communications Research and Pronouncements Committees.  He is also serving on the writing panel for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Appropriate Use Criteria for the treatment of rotator cuff tears.  He is currently the research chair for the Sports Section. He was the 2011 President of the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Therapists and in 2012, he was awarded the APTA Sports Section’s “Lynn Wallace Award for Clinical Education and Mentoring” in recognition of his contributions to sports physical therapy in the areas of teaching and mentoring.  Thigpen was a co-author for the 2013 APTA Sports Sections Excellence in Research Award for “Preseason Shoulder Rom Screening As A Predictor Of Injury Among Youth, Adolescent, And Professional Baseball Pitchers”.


Contact Hours: 1.5

Price: $49


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