A study published by Kukkonen et al. sought to compare conservative treatment with 2 surgical interventions for patients with atraumatic, small rotator cuff tears. The article found that the conservative treatment, physiotherapy, had similar outcomes to acromioplasty or acromioplasty and rotator cuff repair at 1 year based on Constant score, but physiotherapy had significantly less direct and indirect cost. Due to these results, the authors propose that physiotherapy should be the primary treatment for small, non-traumatic rotator cuff tears.
A Swedish study from Linköping University focusing on subacromial impingement syndrome has found a specific exercise program that helped 80% of compliant patients seeking arthroscopic subacromial decompression avoid surgery. The study compared a group given exercises targeting strength of the rotator cuff and scapula stabilizers to a group given non-specific neck and shoulder movement exercises. Measures included Constant-Murley shoulder assessment score, Hospital Anxiety and Disability (HAD) score, Disabilities of arm, shoulder and hand score, Health related quality of life measured with EQ-5D (European Quality of Life- 5 Dimension score) and Visual analogue scale.