Rotator cuff disorders: a survey of current (2016) UK physiotherapy practice

Julie Bury*, Chris Littlewood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Shoulder pain is a common musculoskeletal presentation, with disorders of the rotator cuff (RC) regarded as the most frequent cause. Conservative treatment is often the initial management; however, findings from a previous survey showed considerable variations in clinical practice, including the use of modalities that are not supported in the literature, suggesting that research is not impacting on practice. The present study aimed to survey current UK physiotherapy practice for the management of RC disorders and to determine whether this has changed over the 5-year period since the last survey was conducted. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of UK physiotherapists was conducted. Results: One hundred and ninety-one respondents completed the survey which showed that advice/education and some form of exercise therapy are most commonly used as a management strategy for RC disorders. There is a lack of agreement however regarding exercise prescription. The survey suggests less use of passive modalities, indicating that practice has advanced over the last 5 years in line with the current evidence. Conclusions: The present study has highlighted that the clinical practice of the survey respondents was in line with current recommendations from research. Hence, in contrast to the survey conducted 5 years previously, research appears to be impacting on practice, which is a positive finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalShoulder and Elbow
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • knowledge mobilization
  • physiotherapy
  • rotator cuff
  • shoulder pain
  • survey


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