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Association Between Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: A Cross-Sectional Study

Applegate, Kara Arnold BS; Thiese, Matthew S. PhD, MSPH; Merryweather, Andrew S. PhD; Kapellusch, Jay PhD; Drury, David L. MD, MPH; Wood, Eric MD, MPH; Kendall, Richard DO; Foster, James MD, MPH; Garg, Arun PhD; Hegmann, Kurt T. MD, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 2 - p 154–160
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000929

Objective: Recent evidence has found potential associations between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and common musculoskeletal disorders. We evaluated possible associations between risk factors and both glenohumeral joint pain and rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Methods: Data from WISTAH hand study participants (n = 1226) were assessed for associations between Framingham Heart Study CVD risk factors and both health outcomes.

Results: A strong association was observed between CVD risk scores and both glenohumeral joint pain and rotator cuff tendinopathy. Peak odds ratios (ORs) of the adjusted models were 4.55 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.97 to 10.31] and 5.97 (95% CI 2.12 to 16.83), respectively. The results show a dose–response trend of increasing risk.

Conclusions: Individual risk factors were associated with both outcomes. Combined, CVD risk factors demonstrated a strong correlation with glenohumeral joint pain and an even stronger correlation with rotator cuff tendinopathy. Results suggest a potentially modifiable disease mechanism.

Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) (Ms Applegate, Drs Thiese, Wood, Hegmann), Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Dr Merryweather), Center for Ergonomics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Drs Kapellusch, Foster, Garg), Veterans Administration Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dr Drury), and Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Mr Kendall).

Address correspondence to: Kurt T. Hegmann, MD, MPH, Professor and Center Director, Rocky Mtn. Center for Occupational & Environmental Health, University of Utah, 391 Chipeta Way, Suite C, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 (

This study was funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH/CDC) 1R01OH010474-01. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Authors Hegmann, Applegate, Thiese, Merryweather, Kapellusch, Drury, Wood, Kendall, Foster, and Garg have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine