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Dead arm syndrome

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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This is a cause of shoulder pain and tendinitis in young people.

This condition involves shoulder capsule laxity and often rotator cuff weakness.

Presentation may be with a history of the shoulder giving way or the arm going dead after an activity e.g. throwing a ball. There will be a positive apprehension test.

Initial treatment is with analgesia and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Physiotherapy will be required to correct associated muscle imbalance and strengthen the rotator cuff.

If there are recurrent or persistent problems then surgical referral may be necessary.

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