What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that provides support and enables a wide range of motion. A major injury to these tendons may result in rotator cuff tears. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle-aged and older individuals.
What are the Causes of Rotator Cuff Tears?
A rotator cuff tear may occur with repeated use of the arm for overhead activities, while playing sports, or from a motor accident.
What are the Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tears?
A rotator cuff tear causes severe pain, weakness of the arm and crackling sensation on moving the shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movement and tenderness in the front of the shoulder.
How is a Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosed?
Your surgeon diagnoses a rotator cuff tear based on a physical examination and X-rays. A rotator cuff tear is best viewed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
What are the Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Tears?
The conservative treatment options for rotator cuff tears are:
- Shoulder Sling
- Pain medication
- Injection of a steroid (cortisone) and a local anesthetic in the subacromial space of the affected shoulder to relieve inflammation and pain
- Physical Therapy
Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears
Rotator cuff repair surgery may be performed open or arthroscopically. Repair of the tendon will be with either suture anchors or transosseous bone tunnels. Following surgery, you will be placed in a sling for approximately 6 weeks.