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Exploring the personal burden of shoulder pain among younger people in Australia: protocol for a multicentre cohort study
  1. Ilana N Ackerman1,
  2. Richard S Page2,
  3. Kathy Fotis1,
  4. Peter Schoch3,
  5. Nigel Broughton4,5,
  6. Sharon L Brennan-Olsen6,7,
  7. Andrew Bucknill8,
  8. Emily Cross9
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Barwon Orthopaedic Research and Education, Barwon Health and School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Physiotherapy Department, Barwon Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 Orthopaedic Department, Frankston Hospital, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5 Department of Surgery, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6 Department of Medicine – Western Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  7. 7 Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  9. 9 Physiotherapy Department, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Ilana N Ackerman; ilana.ackerman{at}


Introduction Persistent musculoskeletal conditions can impact profoundly on younger people’s quality of life, psychological distress and capacity to work, as shown by previous research involving younger people with osteoarthritis. The personal impacts, in particular, work and parenting impacts, of other musculoskeletal conditions (such as persistent shoulder pain) on younger patient groups remain poorly understood. Furthermore, the personal financial burden associated with managing musculoskeletal conditions is rarely documented. This study aims to investigate well-being, work participation and productivity, shoulder-related parenting disability and out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure among younger people with shoulder pain and evaluate changes over 12 months.

Methods and analysis One hundred and fifty people aged 20–55 years with shoulder pain of more than 6 weeks’ duration (excluding those with recent history of fracture or dislocation) will be recruited for this cohort study. Participants will be recruited from three major public hospitals in Victoria, Australia, following screening of orthopaedic outpatient clinics lists and referrals. Participants will be asked to complete a baseline questionnaire and 2-week healthcare costs diary, with follow-up data collected at 12 months. Patient-reported outcomes will be collected, including health-related quality of life (HRQoL), shoulder pain and function, psychological distress, shoulder-related parenting disability and work productivity. Information on sociodemographics, employment, health services utilisation and shoulder-related healthcare expenditure will also be collected. Descriptive analysis of baseline data will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the personal burden of shoulder pain. Baseline HRQoL and psychological distress data will be compared with Australian population norms to provide context around well-being. Associations between sociodemographic factors and patient-reported outcomes will be evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses. Changes in patient-reported outcomes from baseline to 12 months will be analysed using paired t-tests.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been obtained. The study findings will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and presented at relevant scientific meetings.

  • epidemiology
  • shoulder
  • musculoskeletal disorders

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  • INA and RSP contributed equally.

  • Contributors INA and RSP conceived this work and secured research funding. All authors contributed to the development and refinement of the study protocol. All authors contributed to manuscript preparation. All authors have approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This study is supported by a research grant from the Victorian Orthopaedic Research Trust and in-kind support from Monash University, with additional support from a targeted donation via the Barwon Centre for Orthopaedic Research and Education. Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Career Development Fellowship (#1107510).

  • Competing interests Professor RSP has received institutional educational support from De Puy-Synthes and research investigator support from Integra Health. Dr Brennan-Olsen has received personal fees from Amgen Australia, outside the submitted work.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval has been obtained from the Barwon Health and Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committees, and the study has been registered with the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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