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Self-managed loaded exercise versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a pilot randomised controlled trial

Abstract

Objectives

Rotator cuff tendinopathy is a common source of shoulder pain characterised by persistent and/or recurrent problems for a proportion of sufferers. The aim of this study was to pilot the methods proposed to conduct a substantive study to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-managed loaded exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Design

A single-centre pragmatic unblinded parallel group pilot randomised controlled trial.

Setting

One private physiotherapy clinic, northern England.

Participants

Twenty-four participants with rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Interventions

The intervention was a programme of self-managed loaded exercise. The control group received usual physiotherapy treatment.

Main outcomes

Baseline assessment comprised the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) and the Short-Form 36, repeated three months post randomisation.

Results

The recruitment target was met and the majority of participants (98%) were willing to be randomised. 100% retention was attained with all participants completing the SPADI at three months. Exercise adherence rates were excellent (90%). The mean change in SPADI score was −23.7 (95% CI −14.4 to −33.3) points for the self-managed exercise group and −19.0 (95% CI −6.0 to −31.9) points for the usual physiotherapy treatment group. The difference in three month SPADI scores was 0.1 (95% CI −16.6 to 16.9) points in favour of the usual physiotherapy treatment group.

Conclusions

In keeping with previous research which indicates the need for further evaluation of self-managed loaded exercise for rotator cuff tendinopathy, these methods and the preliminary evaluation of outcome offer a foundation and stimulus to conduct a substantive study.

Cite this article

Self-managed loaded exercise versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a pilot randomised controlled trial.Physiotherapy-March 2014 (Vol. 100, Issue 1, Pages 54-60, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2013.06.001)

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