Alteration and recovery of arm usage in daily activities following rotator cuff surgery
Background: The objective measurement of dominant/nondominant arm use proportion in daily life may provide relevant information on healthy and pathologic armbehavior. This prospective case-control study explored the potential of such measurements as indicators of upper limb functional recovery after rotator cuff surgery. Methods: Data on dominant/nondominant arm usage were acquired with body-worn sensors for 7 hours. The postsurgical arm usage of 21 patients was collected at 3, 6, and 12 months after rotator cuff surgery in the sitting, walking, and standing postures and compared with a reference established with 41 healthy subjects. The results were calculated for the dominant and nondominant surgical side subgroups at all stages. The correlations with clinical scores were calculated. Results: Healthy right-handed and left-handed dominant arm usage was 60.2% (+/- 6.3%) and 53.4% (+/- 6.6%), respectively. Differences in use of the dominant side were significant between the right-and left-handed subgroups for sitting (P = .014) and standing (P = .009) but not for walking (P = .328). The patient group showed a significant underuse of 10.7% (+/- 8.9%) at 3 months after surgery (P < .001). The patients recovered normal arm usage within 12 months, regardless of surgical side. The arm underuse measurement was weakly related to function and pain scores. Conclusion: This study provided new information on arm recovery after rotator cuff surgery using an innovative measurement method. It highlighted that objective arm underuse measurement is a valuable indicator of upper limb postsurgical outcome that captures a complementary feature to clinical scores. (C) 2015 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees.