The relationship between handgrip and rotator cuff muscle strength in shoulder pain: a cross-sectional study

Reem D'Mello, Charu Eapen, Manisha Shenoy, Patel Vivekbhai Dineshbhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aims Shoulder pain is reported to be the third most common musculoskeletal disorder. Rotator cuff muscles play an important role in stabilising the shoulder and decreasing pain. Assessment of handgrip strength has been proposed as an indicator of rotator cuff function in healthy individuals, but not in those experiencing shoulder pain. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between handgrip strength and shoulder rotator cuff strength in patients experiencing shoulder pain as a result of pathology or surgical intervention. A secondary aim was to identify any association between the duration of shoulder pain and handgrip strength and shoulder rotator cuff strength. Methods A total of 32 patients with shoulder pain (19 men, 13 women) were evaluated. The mean age was 52.88 (± 15.66) years, with a mean duration of shoulder pain of 13.44 (± 10.22) weeks. Handgrip strength was measured using the standard Jamar hydraulic hand dynamometer, and individual isometric rotator cuff strength was measured using the Baseline push-pull dynamometer. Results Correlation was found between handgrip strength and the abductor (r=0.58), external rotator (r=0.57), and internal rotator strength (r=0.59). A linear regression model was used to derive the equations for the association. No significant (P>0.05) correlation was found between the duration of pain and the handgrip strength or rotator cuff strength. Conclusions The strength of the correlation found indicates that handgrip strength can be used for assessment and within a rehabilitation programme to monitor rotator cuff function in patients with shoulder pain or post-surgical rehabilitation. The strength of rotator cuff muscles can be predicted by the equations derived from the regression model relating to grip strength assessment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 02-09-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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