Rotator Cuff Tear

The Rotator Cuff muscles which surround your shoulder joint play an important role in moving the arm. The upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a ball and socket joint (glenoid) in the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff tendons attach the humerus to the shoulder blade and hold the head of the humerus in the socket. The rotator cuff muscles also help lift your arm.

The natural aging process and the rubbing of the Acromion bone when lifting your arm causes the rotator cuff muscles to become thinner over time, which may eventually lead to a tear. Not everyone experiences symptoms after a rotator cuff injury, with around half of people 60+ with rotator cuff tears (possibly caused by bone spurs or other rotator cuff disease) reporting no noticeable symptoms.

The typical symptoms of rotator cuff injuries include:

  • Shoulder pain due to inflammation
  • Arm weakness
  • Loss of shoulder function power and movement

 The severity of these symptoms will vary depending upon the size of the tear. A torn rotator cuff will never fully heal. If the inflammation reduces, then your pain will reduce. Sydney Shoulder Clinic can help in managing the symptoms.

How are Rotator Cuff Tears Treated?

Following a physical examination and X-Rays, rotator cuff repair may involve a combination of corticosteroid injections, anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy. In severe cases, surgery may be required, but the vast majority of people respond favourably to non-surgical treatment such as strengthening exercises.

You should expect around 1 to 2 months of non-operative treatment before noticing any improvement. If you do not receive any relief from your symptoms within this timeframe, surgery may be considered subject to the degree of lifestyle restriction and MRI findings.

Large Tears

Most people with a partial tear of a rotator cuff only experience mild symptoms (if any). If you experience a more considerable loss of function, then this may indicate a large tear. Surgery may be considered subject to the degree of lifestyle restriction and MRI findings. A reasonably severe rotator cuff tear can cause some patients to develop shoulder arthritis over time.

Rehabilitation Time for Surgical Operation

Those who are required to undergo surgery for a rotator cuff tear will need to undergo a 12-month rehabilitation period.

Book an Appointment at Sydney Shoulder Clinic Today

To schedule a consultation or seek advice about your rotator cuff tear, please call Sydney Shoulder Clinic today on 9744 2201. Ask to speak to Tim Neville physiotherapist, who has a special interest in treating shoulder conditions. He has nearly 40 years of experience and has made himself available to provide obligation free telephone advice if you call him on 9744 2201.