Non-traumatic chronic shoulder pain is not associated with changes in rotator cuff interval tendon thickness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Granada
  • University of Málaga
  • University of Antwerp


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the thickness of the rotator interval tendons is different when comparing both symptomatic and non-symptomatic sides in people with chronic shoulder pain, and to those free of pain. Furthermore, to calculate the level of association between the rotator interval tendon thicknesses and perceived shoulder pain-function.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional, observational study.

METHOD: The supraspinatus, subscapularis and biceps brachii tendon thickness of sixty two patients with chronic shoulder pain were determined from standardized ultrasonography measures performed on both shoulders, whereas only the dominant arm was measured for the control subjects.

FINDINGS: Supraspinatus, subscapularis and biceps brachii tendon thickness was comparable between sides in the symptomatic group and was also comparable between the symptomatic and asymptomatic participants. In addition, the correlation between the tendon thickness and shoulder pain-function was non-significant.

INTERPRETATIONS: Tendon thickness was unaltered in people with chronic shoulder pain. These findings do not rule out the possibility that other changes in the tendon are present such as changes in the elastic properties and cell population and this should be explored in future studies.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Early online date2 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2019


  • Chronic pain, Shoulder pain, Tendon, Ultrasound