Suprascapular neuropathy in volleyball players.

Published online: Jun 27 2005


From the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK & Good Hope Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK


Entrapment neuropathy of the suprascapular nerve (SNE), although a recognised clinical entity, is a relatively rare cause of shoulder pain and subjective weakness in the athlete involved in overhead sports like volleyball and badminton. This study deals with the presentation and management of four unusual cases of suprascapular nerve entrapment in volleyball players. Four male volleyball players presented to our department with intractable shoulder pain and subjective sensation of shoulder weakness. They all had visible wasting of both supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles, together with weakness of abduction and external rotation of the arm. They all responded temporarily to a diagnostic injection of local anaesthetic. MR imaging was useful in diagnosing space occupying lesions in three cases and the presence of a hypertrophic suprascapular ligament in one case. Due to failure of non- operative treatment, which included activity modification, rest, analgesics and rehabilitation programme over 6 months, surgery was then required to decompress the suprascapular nerve. All patients were symptom free at 6 months postoperatively and after an intensive rehabilitation programme, they were able to return to their normal level of activity including sport.