Duration of symptoms and rotator cuff tear severity
The relation between the presence of a full thickness rotator cuff tear and symptoms remains unclear: although patients can present with various complaints such as pain, a loss of ROM and weakness, a substantial amount of full thickness rotator cuff tears is asymptomatic. According to the current state of the art, the duration of symptoms is used to establish an indication for surgery – surgery within three weeks after the onset of symptoms is considered optimal.
This study, conducted on a cohort of 433 patients, employed a transversal design in order to investigate whether, among others, more severe MRI findings, more pain, greater losses in ROM and less strength are correlated to a longer duration of symptoms in patients with atraumatic full thickness rotator cuff tears.
Surprisingly, no associations were found between aforementioned outcome parameters and the duration of symptoms in patients with full thickness rotator cuff tears. Moreover, multiple sources of evidence report weak or unclear correlations between decreases in ROM, weakness of shoulder muscles and particularly pain, and rotator cuff severity. > From: Unruh et al., J Shoulder Elbow Surg 23 (2014) 1052-1058. All rights reserved to Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Click here for the Pubmed summary