Research - Supporting Studies

Treatment of non-traumatic rotator cuff tears. A randomised controlled trial with one-year clinical results. 


Year: 2016  Study type: RCT  

Kukkonen J, Joukainen A, Lehtinen J, Mattila K, Tuominen E, Kauko T et al. Treatment of non-traumatic rotator cuff tears. The Bone & Joint Journal 2014;96-B(1):75-81.


To compare the effectiveness of three different treatment methods in non-traumatic tears of supraspinatus tendon.


Randomized controlled trial, 180 shoulders (173 patients), > 55 years of age

Three treatment groups (60 shoulders in each group):

  1. Physiotherapy (six-month intervention)
  2. Acromioplasty and physiotherapy
  3. Rotator cuff repair, acromioplasty and physiotherapy

Primary outcome: Constant score at 3, 6 and 12 months after the intervention.


No between-group differences in the total Constant score at 12-month follow-up: 74.1, 77.2 and 77.9 in groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively (p = 0.34). Mean change in the Constant score was 17.0, 17.5, and 19.8, respectively (p = 0.34).

Conclusion: In one-year follow-up operative treatment was not better than conservative treatment in non-traumatic supraspinatus tears and hence, conservative treatment should be considered the treatment of choice for non-traumatic rotator cuff tears in elderly patients.