Risk factors for incidence of rotator cuff syndrome in a large working population

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2012 Sep;38(5):436-46. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3285. Epub 2012 Feb 27.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of personal and work-related factors on the incidence of rotator cuff syndrome (RCS) in a large working population.

Methods: A total of 3710 French workers were included in a cross-sectional study in 2002-2005. All completed a self-administered questionnaire about personal factors and work exposure. Using a standardized physical examination, occupational physicians established a diagnosis of RCS. Between 2007-2010, 1611 workers were re-examined. Associations between RCS and risk factors at baseline were analyzed by logistic regression.

Results: A total of 839 men and 617 women without RCS at baseline were eligible for analysis. RCS was diagnosed in 51 men (6.1%) and 45 women (7.3%). The risk of RCS increased with age for both genders [odds ratio (OR) 4.7 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2.2-10.0) for men aged 45-49 years and 5.4 (95% CI 2.3-13.2) for women aged 50-59 years; reference <40 years]. For men, the work-related risk factors were repeated posture with the arms above the shoulder level combined with high perceived physical exertion [OR 3.3 (95% CI 1.3-8.4)] and low coworker support [OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.1-3.9)]. For women, working with colleagues in temporary employment [OR 2.2 (95% CI 1.2-4.2)] and repeated arm abduction (60-90°) [OR 2.6 (95% CI 1.4-5.0)] were associated with RCS.

Conclusions: Age was the strongest predictor for incident cases of RCS, and arm abduction was the major work-related risk factor for both genders. Lack of social support was a predictor for RCS among men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Rotator Cuff / pathology*
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / epidemiology*