Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Aspirin could be used as an anti-inflammatory drug, bringing relief to the thousands who suffer with shoulder pain, researchers at NDORMS have found.

Head of Department Professor Andrew Carr assesses a patient with shoulder pain
Head of Department Professor Andrew Carr assesses a patient with shoulder pain

In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, our scientists looked at tendons taken from patients suffering from shoulder pain.

Dr Stephanie Dakin said: 'Shoulder pain is the third most common problem seen by orthopaedics specialists and with an aging population we will see more of this. There are various treatment options, from physiotherapy to drugs and injections and even surgery. Success rates can be variable. We wanted to understand the underlying processes that cause the problem.

Dr Dakin first developed her interest in the issue as a vet treating horses with tendon injuries, which can be life threatening in the animals. After completing a PhD researching inflammation in equine tendon disease, she has been funded by Arthritis Research UK to spend the last two years developing her findings and looking at how they can be applied to people as well.

She explained: 'The focus of this current work is to investigate inflammation in shoulder tendon injuries in groups of NHS patients at the Oxford University Hospitals. The purpose of this research is to improve understanding of the role of inflammation in tendon disease to find therapeutic targets – elements of the condition that can be targeted with drugs to relieve or cure it.'

The team found that the processes creating and sustaining inflammation were different in early and late stage tendon disease. They also found processes that appear to be responsible for recovery from tendon pain after treatment. A key finding was that aspirin, that staple of household medicine cabinets, could be an effective treatment.

Dr Dakin said: 'Looking at cells in the laboratory, we found that low dose aspirin has the potential to resolve tendon inflammation. We will now be conducting a clinical trial to investigate if low dose aspirin can help to prevent tendon injuries or treat patients with early stage tendon disease.'

You can read the full paper here.

Similar stories

Professor Michael Dustin appointed new Chair in Molecular Immunology

A generous gift from the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research has enabled the creation of a new Chair in Molecular Immunology at the University of Oxford.

Empowering data science for single-cell analysis in Zimbabwe

An innovative computational biology training module was launched in November 2022 at the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) in Harare, Zimbabwe, where MSc students were trained in single-cell RNA sequencing data analysis.

T-cell coreceptors are well endowed—with kinases!

The kinase occupancy of CD4 and CD8 coreceptors is high, according to a new study published in PNAS.

Two prestigious Hunterian Professorships awarded to NDORMS researchers

Conrad Harrison and Tom Layton have both been awarded Hunterian Professorships for 2022 by the Royal College of Surgeons of England

Adalimumab is found to be a cost-effective treatment for early-stage Dupuytren’s disease

Researchers at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Oxford Population Health’s Health Economics Research Centre have found that anti-TNF treatment (adalimumab) is likely to be a cost-effective treatment for people affected by early-stage Dupuytren’s disease.

Patients like me

What can patients learn from the experiences of people like them who’ve already had a hip replacement? A new tool called ‘Patients like me’ helps answer some of the questions about pain, complications and how long the prosthesis might last.