MRI findings of rotator cuff myotendinous junction injury

Atul K. Taneja, Susan V. Kattapuram, Connie Y. Chang, F. Joseph Simeone, Miriam A. Bredella, Martin Torriani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this article is to describe the MRI features of rotator cuff myotendinous junction injuries. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We retrospectively identified MRI cases with myotendinous junction injury of the rotator cuff muscles and reviewed clinical, imaging, and surgical records. MR images were reviewed independently by two musculoskeletal radiologists to grade myotendinous junction injuries (strain, partial tear, or complete tear) and to assess for concurrent tendon tears (partial or full thickness) and bone changes (fracture or contusion). RESULTS. The final study group comprised 16 subjects. The mean age was 38 years, with a majority of men (56%). The left shoulder was affected in 56% of subjects, with the dominant upper limb affected in 50%. The mean time between symptoms and MRI was 19 days. Subjects reported heavy lifting (19%), landing on the arm after a fall (19%), or prior shoulder therapeutic injection (25%). Myotendinous junction injuries affected the infraspinatus muscle (50%), followed by the supraspinatus (31%), subscapularis (25%), and teres minor (19%) muscles. About one fifth of subjects presented with more than one muscle affected, and 94% did not present with tears of the corresponding tendons. Most myotendinous junction injuries were strains (80%), followed by partial tears (20%). No complete tears were identified. There was no correlation between myotendinous junction injury and the presence of bone changes or the presence of tendon tears ( p > 0.05). CONCLUSION. Rotator cuff myotendinous junction injuries affect mostly the infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles, usually in a strain pattern and without tear of the corresponding tendon attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-411
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • Myotendinous junction
  • Rotator cuff
  • Strain
  • Tear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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