ISAKOS Congress 2021

2021 ISAKOS Biennial Congress Paper


Relation Between Sleep Position And Rotator Cuff Tears

David P Richards, MD, FRCSC, Hamilton, VA UNITED STATES
Daniel Miller, MD, Calgary, Alberta CANADA
David MacDonald, BSc.P.T., MBA, Calgary, Alberta CANADA
Stephen D Miller, MD, FRCSC, Calgary, Alberta CANADA
Quinn F. Stewart, BSc, Calgary , Alberta CANADA

West Virginia University , Charles Town, West Virginia, UNITED STATES

FDA Status Not Applicable


There is a significant relationship between side sleeping and rotator cuff tears.



To determine whether sleep position was related to rotator cuff pathology (partial thickness or full thickness rotator cuff tears). Type of Study: Retrospective review. Methods: A consecutive series of patients that met the inclusion/exclusion criteria (n=58) were in seen in clinic between July 2019 and December 2019. All of these individuals had a significant partial thickness (> 50%) or full thickness rotator cuff tear determined by either ultrasound, MRI or both. All patients in this series either had an insidious onset of shoulder pain or their symptoms were related to the basic wear and tear of daily activities. Traumatic rotator cuff tears (those associated with a significant traumatic event such as shoulder instability, motor vehicle accidents, sports related injuries, etc …) were excluded. Previous shoulder surgery, recurrent rotator cuff tears and Worker’s Compensation cases were also excluded from this series. As part of the history taking process, the patients were asked what was their preferred sleeping position – side sleeper, back sleeper or stomach sleeper. A Chi-square test was conducted to determine the relationship between rotator cuff pathology and sleep position. Results: Of the 58 subjects, 52 of the patients were side sleepers, 4 were stomach sleepers, 1 was a back sleeper and 1 preferred all 3 positions. Statistical analysis, utilizing the Chi-square test (p < .0001), demonstrated that rotator cuff tears were most often seen in side sleepers. Conclusion: These results demonstrate a significant relationship between rotator cuff pathology and side sleepers.

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