Asymptomatic Rotator Cuff Tendon Tears More Common in Elderly Diabetics

In 70 year olds, incidence of major asymptomatic supraspinatus tears is 7.8% in elderly controls, and 15.8 in elderly diabetics

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Dec 7;11(1):278. [Epub ahead of print]
Sonographic evaluation of the shoulder in asymptomatic elderly subjects with diabetes.
Abate M, Schiavone C, Salini V.  abstract here

Minor tears were 3.1% in controls versus 15.8% in diabetics – which was statistically significant (p<0.03) – the major tear difference was not statistically significant

Comment – From what I have seen before, many people can manage with an isolated rotator cuff tear – this demonstrates they can be asymptomatic. I have elderly patients wondering if they should have a repair done – this is a gray area and depends on symptoms and lifestyle (use of arms…). Diabetic pateints with shoulder issues need ultrasounds of shoulder to look for tears, though I check out all people now..

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