Your institution is subscribed to Read Institutional Edition. Log in or Sign Up to read full text articles.


Conservatively Treated Symptomatic Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy May Progress to a Tear

Noah J Quinlan, Jeffrey J Frandsen, Karch M Smith, Chao-Chin Lu, Peter N Chalmers, Robert Z Tashjian
Arthroscopy, sports medicine, and rehabilitation 2022, 4 (4): e1449-e1455

Purpose: To determine the likelihood of, and risk factors for, progression of rotator cuff tendinopathy to tear on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients treated conservatively for minimum 1 year.

Methods: Patients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Corporate Data Warehouse with a diagnosis of rotator cuff injury and sequential MRI of the same shoulder at least 1 year apart were identified. Presenting MRIs were reviewed to select patients with tendinopathy, while excluding those with a normal appearing cuff, tear, or prior repair. Tear progression was defined as development of a partial or full-thickness tear on follow-up MRI. Chart review was performed for demographic and clinical data. Descriptive statistics and inter-observer and intra-observer reliability were calculated. Discrete and continuous variables were compared between patients who progressed and those who did not using chi-square, Fisher's Exact, Student's t , and Mann-Whitney U -test.

Results: In the VHA database, 135 patients had an initial MRI demonstrating rotator cuff tendinopathy. On subsequent MRI at mean 3.4 year follow-up, 39% of patients had progressed to a tear. When grouped on the basis of time between scans as 1 to 2 years, 2 to 5 years, or over 5 years, the rate of progression was 32%, 37%, and 54% respectively. No factors were associated with progression.

Conclusions: Among patients with symptomatic rotator cuff tendinopathy that remained symptomatic at a minimum of 1 year and obtained a follow-up MRI, 39% progressed to a partial or full-thickness tear. None of the factors evaluated in this study correlated with progression from tendinopathy to tear. When patients were grouped based on time between scans as 1 to 2 years, 2 to 5 years, or more than 5 years, the rate of progression from tendinopathy to tear was 32%, 37%, and 54%, respectively.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.