The significance of subjective mechanical symptoms in rotator cuff pathology

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. In patients with shoulder pain, rotator cuff (RC) tears are common, and so are subjective complaints of mechanical symptoms, such as popping and clicking.
All key points available for members only

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Patients with shoulder pain often complain that their shoulder pops and clicks, but the clinical significance of these mechanical symptoms is unclear. It is thought that the popping and clicking may indicate greater risk of structural pathology in the shoulder joint, but there is no robust evidence to support this theory.

This prospective cohort study used MRI to determine whether mechanical symptoms in painful shoulders were associated with full-thickness rotator cuff (RC) tears and other forms of structural damage.

Patients with shoulder pain often complain that their shoulder pops and clicks, but the clinical significance of these mechanical symptoms is unclear.
bulb
Both mechanical symptoms and rotator cuff tears were common, but not correlated; therefore, popping and clicking noises do not necessarily indicate damage or bad outcomes.

METHODS

  • 100 patients with shoulder pain and suspected RC tendinopathy received an MRI. Indications for MRI included muscle weakness and failure to respond to at least six weeks of conservative treatment.
to unlock full access to this review and 1001 more