Table 1

 Description of the studies included in this review

TrialType of studyOutcome measureSample sizeCharacteristics of treatmentShoulder dominanceFollow-up periodConfirmation of tear
OSS, Oxford Shoulder Score; SF36, Short Form-36; ASES, American Shoulder and elbow Surgeons; UCLA SRS, University of California at Los Angeles Shoulder Rating Score; SST, Simple Shoulder Test; C-M, Constant–Murley; MWC, Modified Wolfgang’s Criteria; TRP, Therapy Report Programme; ROM, range of movement; SPADI, Shoulder Pain and Disability Index; SF12, Short Form-12; JOAS, Japanese Orthopaedic Association Score; CS, corticosteroid.
Ainsworth (2006)24Case seriesOSS10Patient education, exercisesNot reported3 monthsMassive full thickness tear confirmed by ultrasonography
Bokor et al (1993)25Case seriesASES53NSAIDs, stretching, strengthening, occasional CS injectionsDominant limb involved in 40 casesMean 7.6 yearsFull thickness tear confirmed arthroscopically
Goldberg et al (2001)26Case seriesSST46Patient education, home stretching and strengtheningNumbers not stated (dominance used in analysis)Minimum 1 yearFull thickness tear confirmed by ultrasonography, MRI or arthrogram
SF36Mean 2.5 years (SD = 1.6)
Hawkins and Dunlop (1995)27Case seriesC-M33Supervised rotator cuff exercises26 dominant, 7 non-dominant3.8 years (range 2.6-4.6 years)Full thickness tear confirmed by contrast arthrogram
Heers et al (2005)28Case seriesC-M10Home exercisesNot reported3 months3 groups, one group had 10 patients with massive tear confirmed by ultrasonography
Night pain
Itoi and Tabata (1992)29Case seriesMWC114 (124 shoulders)Rest, NSAIDs, injection, exercise for range of movement and strengthNot reported3.4 years (range 1-9 years)Full thickness tears confirmed by arthrogram
Koubaa et al (2005)30Case seriesC-M24Ultrasound, passive ROM, strengthening, proprioception, education15 dominant6 monthsFull thickness tear confirmed by ultrasonography
VAS (pain)9 non-dominant
VAS (impairment)
Palmer (1998)31Single case studyTRP1Exercise in waterNot reported2 yearsFull thickness tear confirmed by MRI
Piccoli and Hasson (2004)32Single case studySPADI1Exercise, ultrasound, ice, upper body exerciserNot reported7 weeksFull thickness tear confirmed by MRI
Yamada et al (2000)33Case seriesJOAS12CS, heat, exercise, passive movementNot reported4 yearsMassive cuff tear confirmed by arthrogram