Rotator Cuff Tear

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear and how is it treated?

What is Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and tendons that attach to the top of the shoulder that help hold the shoulder in its socket as well as rotate and raises the arm. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of the tendons of the rotator cuff becomes damaged or torn.

Rotator cuff tears are most often seen in patients who frequently use their arms and shoulders, including manual laborers and throwing athletes. Patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis are also susceptible to sustain a tear.  Rotator cuff tears can be problematic injuries, especially for athletes or for those whose jobs require repetitive overhead motions of the shoulder.

Depending upon the severity of the injury, rotator cuff tears are classified as either “partial thickness tears” or “full thickness tears”.

Patients who sustain rotator cuff tears may experience any or any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the form of a deep ache in the shoulder
  • Stiffness
  • Instability in the shoulder
  • Difficulty rotating and/or lifting the arm

Patients who are experiencing symptoms are advised to make an appointment with one of the Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Shoulder Specialists at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may cause the tear and its symptoms to become worse.

How is it treated?

Partial thickness rotator cuff tears can often be treated utilizing nonsurgical treatment options.

Nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections to reduce pain and inflammation

When the rotator cuff is completely torn, or a partial tear has not responded to conservative treatments,  surgery may be recommended to repair the torn rotator cuff. The Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Shoulder Specialists at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates perform arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs using the latest surgical techniques.

At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, our goal is to create a unique treatment plan based on your specific injury and activity level to get you back to a healthy and active lifestyle as soon as possible!