The long-term outcome of rotator cuff tendinitis--a review study

Br J Rheumatol. 1988 Oct;27(5):385-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/27.5.385.


Rotator cuff tendinitis is believed to resolve in the majority but the long-term outcome has not been well documented. This review of 137 patients treated conservatively found active tendinitis in 35 individuals at a mean of 19 months after presentation. In addition, 40 patients had residual pain and eight developed pain due to another cause. Early presentation and a history of overuse unrelated to occupation distinguished the 54 who had resolved from those with active tendinitis (p less than 0.01). Dominant arm involvement was associated with a poorer prognosis (p less than 0.05). Functional impairment occurred in 29 patients, two having lost employment. The sizeable proportion of patients with chronic tendinitis resistant to conservative treatment suggests that rotator cuff tendinitis is not an early self-limiting condition and improvement in management is required.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Shoulder*
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*