Rotator Cuff Tear

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

A rotator cuff tear occurs when the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder joint are torn. As a result, the shoulder and arm tend to be weak and/or painful.

It is a common injury in older individuals, and is usually due to wear and tear and impaired healing. It can also be caused by trauma to the shoulder from sports or accidents. 

Rotator Cuff Tear

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

A rotator cuff tear occurs when the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder joint are torn. As a result, the shoulder and arm tend to be weak and/or painful.

It is a common injury in older individuals, and is usually due to wear and tear and impaired healing. It can also be caused by trauma to the shoulder from sports or accidents. 

Causes and Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tear

Causes 

  • Age 

More than half of individuals over the age of 70 will have rotator cuff tear without having any symptoms. Degenerative rotator cuff tears develop over time due to an imbalance between daily wear and tear and healing. 

  • Trauma 

You might sustain a rotator cuff tear from a traumatic injury to the shoulder.

Symptoms

  • Pain or weakness in the shoulder

Weakness in the shoulder may impair shoulder function. For instance, you might experience pain when trying to raise the arm, or even when lying down and sleeping.

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

The Orthopaedic Surgeon will conduct a physical examination on your shoulder by looking at the range of motion of your shoulder.

Imaging Tests

MRI scans, X-rays, or an ultrasound may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and severity of the rotator cuff tear; whether the tear got larger with time or has become irreparable.

We provide consultation for shoulder arthritis cases

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

The Orthopaedic Surgeon will conduct a physical examination on your shoulder by looking at the range of motion of your shoulder.

Imaging Tests

MRI scans, X-rays, or an ultrasound may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and severity of the rotator cuff tear; whether the tear got larger with time or has become irreparable.

We provide consultation for shoulder arthritis cases

Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the severity of the tear. Every individual’s tear is different, hence it is best to consult and to be assessed by a shoulder surgeon to manage this problem.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of the surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Physiotherapy
Rotator cuff exercises performed during a physiotherapy session can help to decrease pain and improve shoulder function.

Injection
On rare occasions, steroid injections may help manage the pain. However, Steroids may affect the tendon’s integrity and may predispose the tendon to further tearing.

Arthroscopy / Key-hole Surgery
A small incision will be made in your shoulder to:
1) shave down the underside of the acromion bone to relieve the symptoms by reducing pressure on the rotator cuff and bursa
2) repair the torn rotator cuff tendon using sutures and anchors to secure the torn tendon back to its position

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

CONTACT US

Get a consult from Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group