What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint providing support and enabling a wide range of motion. Major injury to these tendons may result in tear of these tendons, a condition called rotator cuff tear. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals.
What are the Causes of Rotator Cuff Tears?
Rotator cuff tear results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted. It may occur with repeated use of arm for overhead activities, while playing sports or during motor accidents.
What are the Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tears?
Rotator cuff tear causes severe pain, weakness of the arm, and crackling sensation on moving 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 rotator cuff Tear based on a physical examination, X-rays, and imaging studies, such as MRI. Rotator cuff tear is best viewed on magnetic resonance imaging.
What are the Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Tears?
Conservative 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 help decrease the inflammation and pain
- Certain exercises
Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears
Rotator cuff repair may be performed by open surgery or arthroscopic procedure. In arthroscopy procedure, space for rotator cuff tendons will be increased and the cuff tear is repaired using suture anchors. These anchor sutures help in attaching the tendons to the shoulder bone. Following the surgery, you may be advised to practice motion and strengthening exercises.