Causes of pain and loss of function in rotator cuff disease: analysis of 1383 cases

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Rotator cuff disease can lead to significant pain and functional compromise, but the actual cause of pain and poor function is often multifactorial. Previous studies have focused on the relationship between intraoperative findings such as tear size, tendon quality and concurrent pathology on post‐operative outcome;1 however there is limited information on such tear characterises and the degree of baseline impairment. Some studies have associated larger tears with increasing pain and poorer function, but are limited by small sample sizes and the use of ultrasound to assess tear characteristics.3
Long head of biceps (LHB) pathology has been traditionally been thought to be a pain generator of rotator cuff disease,6 but once again the majority of studies have focussed on post‐operative outcomes.7 Likewise, labral pathology has been linked to poor function but limited literature is available.9
The New Zealand Rotator Cuff Registry is a multicentre nationwide registry of rotator cuff operations. To date, it is the largest prospective study of rotator cuff repairs, and is the first registry to include both open and arthroscopic repairs.10
This aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of rotator tear characteristics and other shoulder pathology on pain and function in a large cohort of patients presenting for rotator cuff surgery.
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