General practice management of rotator cuff related shoulder pain: A reliance on ultrasound and injection guided care

Autoři: Josh Naunton aff001;  Christopher Harrison aff002;  Helena Britt aff003;  Terrence Haines aff004;  Peter Malliaras aff001
Působiště autorů: Physiotherapy Department, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia aff001;  Menzies Centre for Health Policy, Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia aff002;  Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia aff003;  School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227688



To describe general practitioner's (GP's) current management of rotator cuff related shoulder pain (RCRP) in Australia and identify if this is consistent with recommended care and best available evidence. The secondary aim was to determine if GP management of RCRP changed over time.


Data about management of RCRP by Australian GPs was extracted from the Bettering the Evaluation of Care of Health program database over its final five years (April 2011-March 2016). Patient and GP characteristics and encounter management data were extracted. Results are reported using descriptive statistics with point estimates and 95% confidence intervals. A secondary analysis over a 16 year period (2000–2016) examined management data for RCRP in four year periods.


RCRP was the most common shoulder condition managed by GPs at 5.12 per 1,000 encounters; and at an estimated 732,000 times nationally in 2015–2016. Management rate was higher among male patients (5.5 per 1000 encounters c.f. 4.8 for female patients) and was highest in the 45–64 year old age group (8.6 per 1000). RCRP was most frequently managed with medications (54.7%), steroid injection (19.5%) followed by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (19.1%). Imaging was ordered for 43.4% (ultrasound 41.2% and x-ray 11.6%) of all RCRP presentations (new and returning). Over half (53.0%) of new RCRP presentations were referred for ultrasound imaging. In the 16 year period 2000–16 ultrasound imaging more than doubled from 19.1% to 41.9% of management occasions. In parallel, prescribed steroid injection increased from 9.8% to 19.7%.


The usual care provided by GPs for RCRP relies on the use of ultrasound and steroid injection. This is not consistent with recommended care and clinical guidelines that recommend these are delayed until after 6–12 weeks of NSAID medication, exercise and activity modification. There has been a significant increase in the rate of steroid injection and ultrasound imaging, which may be due in part to policy change.

Klíčová slova:

NSAIDs – Pain management – Physiotherapy – Shoulders – Sports and exercise medicine – Steroids – Ultrasound imaging – X-ray radiography


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