Asymptomatic Rotator Cuff Tears

Lawrence RL, Moutzouros V, Bey MJ. Asymptomatic rotator cuff tears. JBJS Rev. 2019 Jun;7(6):e9

Abstract: Asymptomatic rotator cuff tears (RCTs) are prevalent in the general population; they are positively associated with age and are common in the contralateral shoulder of individuals who are being treated for shoulder pain or a symptomatic RCT. Asymptomatic RCTs are likely to become symptomatic over time, corresponding with decreased patient-reported function, strength, and range of motion. Previous studies have largely reported inconsistent findings regarding patient-reported outcomes, strength, range of motion, and kinematics in individuals with asymptomatic RCTs. Future research would benefit from characterizing any functional alteration that is associated with asymptomatic rotator cuff pathology, including determining whether such alterations are detrimental or compensatory and understanding the mechanism by which an asymptomatic RCT becomes symptomatic.