Strength reduction in unilateral shoulder pain: Is the healthy side really healthy in rotator cuff disease?

Valerio Sansone, Emanuele Maiorano, Rachel C Applefield, Martina Gandola, Francesco Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The primary aim was to ascertain if unilateral shoulder pain is implicated in strength reduction both on the ipsilateral and contralateral side. Secondarily, we aimed to determine whether strength was affected by sonographic tendon abnormalities.

DESIGN: A total of 122 subjects were evaluated. Sixty-six female subjects with unilateral shoulder pain in the dominant arm were recruited. Abduction strength was measured in both the dominant and non-dominant arm. High-resolution ultra-sonography was also conducted on both shoulders. A match-paired control group (n=66) composed of healthy volunteers underwent the same strength and sonography tests. Subjects with any radiographic anomaly were excluded from the control group. A mixed analysis of variance was performed to test the effect of unilateral shoulder pain on abduction strength. The effect of tendinopathy on shoulder strength was investigated using a mixed 2X2 ANOVA.

RESULTS: ANOVA showed that patients with dominant shoulder pain had lower shoulder strength (11.65±4.05 kg) when compared to controls (14.37±4.00 kg; F=10.454, p=0,002). No statistically significant effects were found when comparing subjects with and without tendinopathy among the study group.

CONCLUSION: In patients with unilateral shoulder pain, abduction strength was found to be lower both on the ipsilateral and contralateral side. The presence of tendinopathy did not affect the reduction in strength. Future research is needed to substantiate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation
Issue number5
Early online dateDec 4 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Strength reduction in unilateral shoulder pain: Is the healthy side really healthy in rotator cuff disease?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this