Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tears are injuries to the tendons that surround the shoulder joint.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tears may develop because of an acute injury but are most often caused by age-related degeneration or chronic impingement (rotator cuff tendons being pulled and squeezed under the coracoacromial arch). Cuff tears can be diagnosed clinically, but an MRI may be used to determine the extent of the tear and further management. Partial thickness tears are initially treated with conservative management including physical therapy, NSAIDs and activity modification. Physical therapy can often strengthen the surrounding muscles and alleviate or eliminate the pain. If the patient fails with conservative management or has a full thickness tear that is causing significant pain and disability, the patient may be a candidate for arthroscopic repair of the rotator cuff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most shoulder pain can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Any primary doctor or general orthopedist can prescribe these simple solutions, but a trained shoulder specialist won’t just treat your pain — they will diagnose and treat your specific problem.
At Modern Orthopaedics, our trained shoulder specialists will ask the right questions, perform specific examinations and order imaging when appropriate. They will be able to diagnose your problem and treat you whether your problem is simple or complex. Although you may not feel like your shoulder issue is “bad enough” to see a specialist, it is advantageous to have the opinion of an expert in the field when it comes to your health.
If you have been diagnosed with a “rotator cuff tear,” that can mean many different things depending on the severity, location, chronicity and dysfunction it is causing. Many times, a small or partial tear can be found on an MRI, but a patient may not even have symptoms. We treat the patient and not the MRI findings. That being said, MRIs can be very helpful in diagnosing a tear, and imaging gives us the ability to visualize the location and extent of the tear. With that information, we can come up with the best treatment plan. Thankfully, most people who have a rotator cuff tear on an MRI do not need surgery, but many people do. We are here to help, whether you just need a few sessions of therapy or you need surgical intervention.
As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free.