Epidemiology of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review

Chris Littlewood*, Stephen May, Stephen Walters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: An understanding of the epidemiology of a problem is central to facilitating clinical understanding, resource allocation and future research priorities. Objectives: To systematically review and report incidence, prevalence, risk and prognostic factors for rotator cuff tendinopathy. Methods: An electronic search of MEDLINE, CiNAHL, PsychINFO to December 2012 was complemented by hand and citation-searching. Studies were selected in relation to pre-defined criteria. A narrative synthesis was undertaken. Results: The incidence of rotator cuff tendinopathy ranges from 0.3% to 5.5% and annual prevalence from 0.5% to 7.4%. There is limited evidence suggesting that increasing age and other personal, work-related and psychosocial factors are associated with onset. There is strong evidence suggesting that high baseline pain and disability and previous episodes of shoulder pain are associated with an unfavourable outcome and strong evidence suggesting that biomedical diagnosis is not associated with outcome. Other factors were identified but were only supported by moderate or limited evidence. Conclusions: Rotator cuff tendinopathy is a common problem but uncertainty remains regarding the true extent and risk factors associated with onset. High baseline pain and disability and previous episodes are associated with an unfavourable outcome but biomedical diagnosis is not associated with outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalShoulder and Elbow
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • Rotator cuff
  • systematic review
  • tendinopathy

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