Rotator cuff-related disorders represent the largest subgroup of shoulder complaints. Despite the availability of various conservative and surgical treatment options, the precise indications for these options remain unclear. The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesize the available research on prognostic models for predicting outcomes in adults undergoing physical therapy for painful rotator cuff disorders. The review included primary studies exploring prognostic models in adults undergoing physical therapy, with or without other conservative measures, for painful rotator cuff disorders. Primary outcomes were pain, disability, and adverse events. Inclusion was limited to prospective investigations of prognostic factors elicited at the baseline assessment. Study selection was independently performed by 2 reviewers. A pilot-tested form was used to extract data on key aspects of study design, characteristics, analyses, and results. Risk of bias and applicability were independently assessed by 2 reviewers using the Prediction Study Risk of Bias Assessment tool (PROBAST). Five studies were included in the review. These studies were extremely heterogeneous in many aspects of design, conduct, and analysis. The findings were analyzed narratively.
There are no prognostic models ready to inform clinical practice in the context of the review question, highlighting the need for further research on prognostic models for predicting outcomes in adults who undergo physical therapy for painful rotator cuff disorders. The design and conduct of future studies should be receptive to developing methods.