Diagnosing, Managing, and Supporting Return to Work of Adults With Rotator Cuff Disorders: A Clinical Practice Guideline Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To develop a clinical practice guideline covering the assessment, management, and return to work of adults with rotator cuff disorders. DESIGN: Clinical practice guideline. METHODS: Using systematic reviews, appraisal of the literature, and an iterative approach to obtain consensus from key stakeholders, clinical recommendations and algorithms were developed in the context of the health care system and work environment of the province of Quebec (Canada). RESULTS: Recommendations (n = 73) and clinical decision algorithms (n = 3) were developed to match the objectives. The initial assessment should include the patient's history, a subjective assessment, and a physical examination. Diagnostic imaging is only necessary in select circumstances. Acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and injection therapies may be useful to reduce pain in the short term. Clinicians should prescribe an active and task-oriented rehabilitation program (exercises and education) to reduce pain and disability in adults with rotator cuff disorders. Subacromial decompression is not recommended to treat rotator cuff tendinopathy. Surgery is appropriate for selected patients with a full-thickness rotator cuff tear. A return-to-work plan should be developed early, in collaboration with the worker and other stakeholders, and must combine multiple strategies to promote return to work. CONCLUSION: This clinical practice guideline was developed to assist the multidisciplinary team of clinicians who provide health care for adults with a rotator cuff disorder. The CPG guides clinical decisionmaking for diagnosis and treatment, and planning for successful return to work. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2022;52(10):647-664. Epub: 27 July 2022. doi:10.2519/jospt.2022.11306.


  • Lafrance, Simon
  • Charron, Maxime
  • Roy, Jean-Sébastien
  • Dyer, Joseph-Omer
  • Frémont, Pierre
  • Dionne, Clermont E
  • MacDermid, Joy
  • Tousignant, Michel
  • Rochette, Annie
  • Doiron-Cadrin, Patrick
  • Lowry, Véronique
  • Bureau, Nathalie
  • Lamontagne, Martin
  • Sandman, Emilie
  • Coutu, Marie-france
  • Lavigne, Patrick
  • Desmeules, François

publication date

  • October 2022