OBJECTIVE--To assess the natural history and response to treatment of shoulder disorders in a community elderly population. METHOD--This community study of shoulder pain in the elderly reviewed patients three years after an earlier prevalence study. RESULTS--One hundred and eight of the original 136 patients with an identifiable shoulder disorder were available for reexamination. Eighty (74%) had persisting signs on examination, with persistent symptoms leading to impairment of personal care (21%) and household tasks (27%), and pain on movement (34%). There was no difference between treated and non-treated groups in terms of outcome. CONCLUSIONS--The results of this study serve to confirm and highlight the chronicity of shoulder lesions in this age group and the consequent personal suffering and implications for health care.
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