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A pilot randomized, controlled trial of treatment for painful arc of the shoulder

Lookup NU author(s): David Cloke, Dr Nick Steen, John Williams


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There is a lack of evidence about the efficacy of routinely used interventions in shoulder pain, such as corticosteroid injection and physiotherapy. This pilot study was set up to assess the feasibility of a larger, randomized controlled trial. Patients with the clinical presentation of a painful arc of less than 6 months' duration were recruited through their general practitioners. A total of 112 patients were randomized to 4 groups: control, physiotherapy, a course of subacromial steroid injections, or both physiotherapy and steroid injections. The primary outcome measure was the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS). Follow-up was 18 weeks and by postal questionnaire at 1 year. No significant differences were found within groups between the OSS scores or the Physical Health total of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey at the beginning and end of the trial or at 1 year. By analysis of covariance, no significant differences were found between treatment groups. Larger studies are needed. A power calculation from our data suggests recruitment of more than 800 patients would be required to achieve a 90% chance of a clinically significant difference being detected between these groups. © 2008 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cloke DJ, Watson H, Purdy S, Steen IN, Williams JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Year: 2008

Volume: 17

Issue: s1

Pages: 17-21

ISSN (print): 1058-2746

ISSN (electronic): 1532-6500

Publisher: Mosby, Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.jse.2007.07.005

PubMed id: 18069016


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0501936Medical Research Council