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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Nov;37(6):502-11. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3179. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Personal, biomechanical, and psychosocial risk factors for rotator cuff syndrome in a working population.

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Laboratoire d'Ergonomie et d'Epidémiologie en Santé au Travail, CHU, FR-49933 Angers Cedex, France.



Rotator cuff syndrome (RCS) is a major health problem among workers. The aim of the study was to examine the risk factors for RCS among workers exposed to various levels of shoulder constraints.


From 3710 workers, representative of a French region`s working population, trained occupational physicians diagnosed a total of 142 cases of RCS among men and 132 among women between 2002-2005. Diagnoses were established by standardized physical examination while personal factors and work exposure were assessed by self-administered questionnaires. Statistical associations between RCS and personal and work-related factors were analyzed for each gender using logistic regression modeling.


The personal risk factors for RCS were age [odds ratio (OR) for 1-year increment 1.07, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.05-1.09, among men and 1.08, 95% CI 1.06-1.10, among women] and diabetes mellitus (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.0-8.6, among women). The work-related risk factors were (i) sustained or repeated arm abduction (≥ 2 hours/day) >90 degrees among men (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-3.9) and >60 degrees among women (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.0-3.2) or both conditions among men (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.1-3.7) and women (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.8-7.3); (ii) high repetitiveness of the task (≥ 4 hours/day) among men (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0-2.4) and women (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.5); (iii) high perceived physical demand among men (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3-3.1); (iv) high psychological demand among men (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.5); and (v) low decision authority among women (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.3).


Personal (ie, age) and work-related physical (ie, arm abduction) and psychosocial factors were associated with RCS for both genders in this working population.

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