Int J Sports Med 1999; 20(3): 201-205
DOI: 10.1055/s-1999-970290
Orthopedics and Clinical Science

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Incidence and Symptoms of Clinically Manifest Rotator Cuff Lesions

S. Fuchs1 , C. Chylarecki2 , A. Langenbrinck1
  • 1University of Munster, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Munster, Germany
  • 2Trauma Ceniter Duisburg-Buchholz, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
30 July 2007 (online)

A clinical study of 200 unselected elderly subjects with an average age of 78 years living in retirement homes was performed to determine the prevalence of clinically manifest rotator cuff tears and the relevance of the tear for daily life. A comprehensive questionnaire was performed and the examiination inclluded the UCLA- and Constant-shoulder assessment scales and a multitude of special tests. The criteria for clinical diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear were a positive Jobe-test, dimiinished external rotation, a positive zero-degree-abduction test, the drop arm sign, pseudoparalysis and atrophy. By these criteria we found 28 (7 %) rotator cuff tears in 25 people. There wvere 15 women and 10 men and the mean age of symptom onset was 55 years. Eleven craftsmen, 7 office workers and 7 housewives met our criteria for rotator cuff tears. Pain was presemt in 22 shoulders. Moderate weakness was found in 2 people and severe weakness in 22. In 20 people the range of motion was severely reduced and in 8 moderately reduced. Activities (of daily living were impaired in all affected subjects. Eight people reported onset of symptoms after trauma. Patients with cllinically diagnosed rotator cuff tears scored an average of 13 pcoints in the UCLA-shoulder assessment scales and 40 points in trhe Constant-shoulder assessment scales. In conclusion rotator cuff may be symptomatic only in some people. Probably more anatomic than symptomatic rotator cuff tears exist, and it can be supposed that physical activities may be one possible reason for clinically relevant tears.