Rotator cuff syndrome: personal, work-related psychosocial and physical load factors

J Occup Environ Med. 2008 Sep;50(9):1062-76. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31817e7bdd.


Objective: To identify factors associated with rotator cuff syndrome (RCS) among active workers.

Methods: Seven hundred thirty-three workers in 12 worksites participated in a cross-sectional study with individual structured physical and psychosocial health interviews, physical examinations, and exposure assessments of biomechanical factors. Work organization, including job content or structural constraints, was assessed at the departmental level. Multivariable logistic modeling was used.

Results: Fifty-five subjects (7.5%) had RCS. Cases were more likely to report low job security (P < 0.04) and to have very high job structural constraints (P < 0.03). Age and body mass index were marginally significant. Upper arm flexion >or= 45 degrees >or= 15% of time and either duty cycle of forceful exertions >or=9% time (odds ratio = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.04 to 5.68) or forceful pinch >0% [odds ratio = 2.66, 95% CI = 1.26 to 5.59] were significant risk factors.

Conclusions: Long duration of shoulder flexion and forceful exertion (especially pinch) in a job are significant risk factors for RCS. Work organization may impact physical and psychosocial exposures and should be further explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Rotator Cuff / physiopathology*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology*
  • Washington / epidemiology