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J Orthop. 2013 Feb 26;10(1):8-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jor.2013.01.008. eCollection 2013.

Prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic rotator cuff tears in the general population: From mass-screening in one village.

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Joto Orthopedic Clinic, Akita, Japan.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan.
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Neuro and Locomotor Science, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita, Japan.
Matsunami General Hospital, Gifu, Japan.



Rotator cuff tear is the most common shoulder disease in patients with shoulder problems, but its prevalence is not well known.


We performed a health care check-up of locomotive organs in 664 residents (21.3% of the population) in one village. Ultrasonography on bilateral shoulders was performed in all the participants.


One hundred and forty seven out of 664 subjects (22.1%) had full-thickness rotator cuff tears. The prevalence of tear in each decade was 0% in the 20s to 40s, 10.7% in the 50s, 15.2% in the 60s, 26.5% in the 70s, and 36.6% in the 80s. Symptomatic rotator cuff tears accounted for 34.7% of all tears and asymptomatic tears for 65.3%. The prevalence of asymptomatic rotator cuff tears was one-half of all tears in the 50s, whereas it accounted for two-thirds of those over the age of 60. The prevalence of tear was significantly greater in male than in female in the 50s and 60s, but not in the 70s and 80s.


The prevalence of rotator cuff tear in the general population was 22.1%, which increased with age. Asymptomatic tear was twice as common as symptomatic tear.


Asymptomatic; Prevalence; Rotator cuff tear; Symptomatic

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