About the Shoulder Research Center
Shoulder pain is a common problem and frequently involves irritation of the joint and tendons of the rotator cuff muscles which are located around the shoulder. Physical therapy treatment is usually the first line of treatment for several shoulder conditions. We are seeking to better understand how and why therapy works in some individuals and does not work in some others.
The overall goal of the Shoulder Research Center is to understand the underlying causes of shoulder pain and develop optimal treatment approaches to manage shoulder pain.
Dr. Philip McClure’s research centers on shoulder dysfunction and his work includes both laboratory and clinical studies. The broad goals of his research are to understand biomechanical and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying shoulder dysfunction and to develop interventions to optimize shoulder function after injury. His research has centered around disorders of the rotator cuff and related biomechanical issues and has included extensive study of 3-dimensional scapular kinematics and translation of that work into clinical testing. He has successfully coordinated teams involving physical therapists, engineers, orthopedic surgeons and basic scientists to address clinically relevant questions. He has also mentored several doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers on shoulder related research. Currently his studies are focused on neural activation of the rotator cuff and the effect of pain, pain relief and exercise on neural activation.
Dr. McClure, along with a collaborator from University of Oregon, was awarded a four-year grant worth $1.9 million in 2014, from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the NIH. His work has also been funded by the Orthopedic and Sports Sections of the American Physical Therapy Association as well as the Arthritis Foundation. Recently he has served on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Writing Panel for the Appropriate Use Criteria on Optimizing the Management of Rotator Cuff Problems as well as the Technical Expert Panel for Comparative Effectiveness of Nonoperative and Operative Treatments for Rotator Cuff Tears convened by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He is the team leader for the shoulder group convened by the Orthopedic Section of the APTA to develop Clinical Guidelines for management of the most common shoulder disorders.
We are a group of Physical Therapy researchers dedicated to understanding the underlying causes of shoulder pain and developing optimal treatment approaches to manage shoulder pain.
- Philip “Phil” W. McClure PT, PhD, FAPTA, Professor / Chair
- Kshamata M. Shah PT, PhD, Assistant Professor
- Daniel “Dan” Safford PT, DPT, MAT, CSCS, Adjunct Professor
- Scott K. Stackhouse PT, PhD, Adjunct Professor
- Ann Tokay Harrington PT, DPT, PhD, Assistant Professor
- Kathleen “Kate” Madden, Study Coordinator
- Alyson Fowler PT, DPT, Associate Faculty
- Dr. Elliot Greenberg, PT, DPT, OCS, Ph.D., Candidate and Physical Therapist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Dr. Brett Sweitzer, M.D., Einstein Healthcare Network
Equipment Center and Lab
The Shoulder Research Center and Department of Physical Therapy are housed within the Health Science Center at Arcadia University and has space dedicated to research activities as well as areas available for exercise, meetings etc. The lab also has several work spaces available for lab personnel. The lab’s equipment includes:
- Kinesiological Fine-wire EMG set-up
- MotionMonitor Toolbox software
- Polhemus Liberty 3D magnetic tracking system coupled with Motion Monitor software
- Noraxon 1200, 8-channel electromyography system
- Grass Muscle and Nerve Stimulator (S48) unit
- GE Logiq-e Ultrasound
- Hand-held and machine mounted force transducers
- Kin-Com isokinetic dynamometers
- BTE Primus muscle performance testing system
- 2 AMTI force plate
Neurophysiology of Weakness and Exercise in Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
The objective of this study is to determine the adaptations in neural activation associated with pain relief and exercise in patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy. This project is funded by a grant awarded to Dr. McClure, along with a collaborator from University of Oregon, worth $1.9 million from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the NIH.
Muscle adaptations with exercise in people with rotator cuff tendinopathy
The goal of this project is to study muscle adaptations related to exercise and pain relief in people with rotator cuff tendinopathy. Understanding these mechanisms will allow us to optimize the current exercise programs to improve patient symptoms and function so that long term problems such as tears and arthritis can be prevented.
Humeral Torsion in Developing Children and its Relationship to Throwing Sports
The primary purpose of this study is to investigate humeral torsion (twisting of the humeral bone) and glenohumeral (shoulder) rotation range of motion (ROM) across an age spectrum (8-14) of young athletes with different throwing histories. This study is funded by a grant from the Orthopedic Section, American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Principal Investigator: Dr. Elliot Greenberg, PT, DPT.
Neurosensory Responses to Thrust Mobilization in People with Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
The primary goal of this study is to identify how spinal joint thrust mobilization improves pain and function in people with impingement. This study is funded by a grant from the Orthopedic Section, APTA. Principal Investigator: Dr. Stephanie Muth, PT, PhD.
Infraspinatus Activation in People with and without Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
The objectives of this study are to determine if there are differences in the level of muscle activation (VA) of the infraspinatus (a shoulder muscle) between individuals with and without rotator cuff tendinopathy (“tendinitis”) and whether or not pain, shoulder function, psychological response to pain and VA are related. This study is funded by a grant from the Orthopedic Section, APTA. Principal Investigator: Dr. Ann Harrington, PT, PhD.
About Other Projects
We also have several on-going student projects which look at a variety of shoulder-related studies e.g. the development of assessment tools to examine shoulder function, ultrasound studies to examine shoulder structures etc.
Orthopaedic Section National Outcomes Database
Dr. McClure leads a group of shoulder experts who are in the process of developing clinical guidelines and to collect and analyze outcome data for patients with shoulder pain. The purpose of this pilot project is to demonstrate the feasibility of collecting and analyzing outcomes data as well as to determine the usefulness of the information to enhance clinician performance and to establish the value of orthopaedic physical therapy. Ultimately, the National Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Outcomes Database will be a repository for clinical and process outcomes data for the most common conditions treated by orthopaedic physical therapists.
Shoulder Study Criteria
Criteria vary for each study. We have several active projects for a range of shoulder conditions. Healthy volunteers are also encouraged to participate. Contact us today to learn more about our ongoing studies. If eligible to participate, you will be compensated for your time.
- Electromyography (EMG)
- 3-D Motion Capture
- Force Transducers
- Quantitative Sensory Testing
Shoulder Research Center Publications
- Michener LA, Snyder Valier AR, McClure PW. Defining substantial clinical benefit for patient-rated outcome tools for shoulder impingement syndrome. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013;94:725-30
- Stackhouse SK, Eisennagel A, Eisennagel J, Lenker H, Sweitzer BA, McClure PW. Experimental pain inhibits infraspinatus activation during isometric external rotation. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013;22:478-84.
- Muth S, Barbe MF, Lauer R, McClure PW. The effects of thoracic spine manipulation in subjects with signs of rotator cuff tendinopathy. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012;42:1005-16.
- Ettinger L, McClure P, Kincl L, Karduna A. Exposure to a workday environment results in an increase inanterior tilting of the scapula in dental hygienists with greater employment experience. Clin Biomech. 2012;27:341-5.
- Seitz AL, McClure PW, Finucane S, Boardman ND 3rd, Michener LA.. Mechanisms of rotator cuff tendinopathy: Intrinsic, extrinsic, or both? Clin Biomech. 2011 Jan;26(1):1-12
- Tate AR, McClure PW, Young IA, Salvatori R, Michener LA. Comprehensive impairment-based exercise and manual therapy intervention for patients with subacromial impingement syndrome: a case series. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(8):474-493.
- Stackhouse SK, Stapleton MR, Wagner DA, McClure PW. Voluntary activation of the infraspinatus muscle in nonfatigued and fatigued states. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2009;19(2):224-229.
- McClure PW, Michener LA, Karduna AR. Shoulder function and three-dimensional scapular kinematics in persons with and without shoulder impingement syndrome. Phys Ther. 2006;86(8):1075-1090.
- McClure PW, Bialker J, Neff N, Williams G, Karduna A. Shoulder function and 3-dimensional kinematics in people with shoulder impingement syndrome before and after a 6-week exercise program. Phys Ther. 2004;84(9):832-848.
- Kibler WB, Ludewig PM, McClure PW, Michener LA, Bak K, Sciascia AD. Clinical implications of scapular dyskinesis in shoulder injury: the 2013 consensus statement from the 'scapular summit'. Br J Sports Med. 2013. Sep;47(14):877-885
- Kelley MJ, Shaffer MA, Kuhn JE, Michener LA, Seitz AL, Uhl TL, Godges JJ, McClure PW. Shoulder Pain and Mobility Deficits- Adhesive Capsulitis: Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2013. 43(5) A1-A31
- Seitz AL, Michener LA, McClure PW, Lynch SS, McKinney JL. Effects of Scapular Dyskinesis and Scapular Assistance Test on Subacromial Space during Static Arm Elevation. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2012; 21(5) 631-40
- McClure PW, Greenberg E, Kareha S. Management of Scapular Dysfunction., Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Reviews 2012; 20(1) 39-48
- Seitz AL, McClure PW, Finucane S, Ketchum J, Walsworth M, Boardman ND Michener LM ScapularUpward Rotation and Posterior Tilt Increases Subacromial Space, but not Muscle Performance in Subacromial Impingement, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012; 42(5) 400-12
- Michener LA, McClure PW, Karduna AR. Anatomical and biomechanical mechanisms of subacromial impingement syndrome. Clin Biomech. 2003;18(5):369-379.