Infraspinatus Fascial Dysfunction as a Cause of Painful Anterior Shoulder Snapping: Its Visualization via Dynamic Ultrasound and Its Resolution via Diagnostic Ultrasound-Guided Injection

King Hei Stanley Lam, Daniel Chiung Jui Su, Yung-Tsan Wu, Mario Fajardo Pérez, Kenneth Dean Reeves, Philip Peng, Bradley Fullerton

Diagnostics 2023, 13(15), 2601


This report presents the first case of painful anterior shoulder snapping due to a thickened, fibrotic bursa snapping between the subscapularis and the short head of the bicep during external and internal rotation of the humerus. A 46-year-old presented with a 10-month history of on-and-off anterolateral right shoulder pain and snapping. Direct treatment to the anterior suspected lesions partially and temporarily relieved the pain but did not reduce the snapping. Further musculoskeletal examination and dynamic ultrasound scanning showed dysfunction in the scapulothoracic movement and defects of the muscles that interact with the infraspinatus aponeurotic fascia. An ultrasound-guided diagnostic injection to the suspected lesions in the infraspinatus fascia and its muscles attachments improved the scapulothoracic movement, and the snapping and pain were eliminated immediately after the injection, which further shows that the defects in the infraspinatus fascia may be the root cause of the painful anterolateral snapping. The importance of the infraspinatus fascia and its related muscle in maintaining the harmony of the scapulothoracic movement and flexibility of the shoulder is considerable.

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