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Shoulder News

Obesity and Rotator Cuff Problems

We know that obesity is linked to all sorts of health problems. These authors tested whether there was a link between obesity and problems in the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a large, powerful band of tendons that surrounds the shoulder joint. Baseball pitchers often injure the rotator cuff. Swelling and inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons is common for the rest of us, too.

Problems with the rotator cuff can be disabling. Obesity seems to affect blood supply to the tissues. Could this lead to inflammation in the rotator cuff?

To check their theory, the authors looked at records for 311 patients who had rotator cuff surgery over eight years. They were compared to 933 people in the same age range who did not have rotator cuff problems. Results showed that the group with rotator cuff problems weighed more. The more overweight a person was, the more at risk a person was for rotator cuff problems.

More research is needed to fully understand this link. However, it seems like there is one more health risk related to obesity.

Aaron M. Wendelboe, MSPH, et al. Associations between Body-Mass Index and Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 4. Pp. 743-747.

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