Repair an Injured Rotator Cuff

ID-10087472Your rotator cuff helps your arm move, lift, and turn (hence the name of rotator cuff). However, it can tear or become otherwise injured, either from a trauma, such as a fall, or from chronic wear and tear, such as age or constant and repetitive use.

If you have torn your rotator cuff, you will know. Pain will start in the front of your shoulder and then extend all the way down the side of the arm. It will be exacerbated when lifting, reaching, sleeping on your side, or even simply doing your hair or scratching your back.

What Should I Do?

Once you realize that you have a torn rotator cuff, get it treated as quickly as possible. If you put it off, the tear might only just get larger, causing more pain and weakness. It is very possible that your doctor will recommend non-surgical treatments, such as:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Steriod injections
  • Medication

The tear will most likely not heal on its own, but it is possible to get your shoulder working properly again without surgery.

When Surgery Is Needed

If you are continuing to feel intense pain, despite the non-surgical treatment, chances are that surgery will be needed. This pain could include night time and difficulty even raising the arm. If you are active and need to lift your arm for work, surgery will also be the best treatment option.

During surgery, the shoulder will either be opened for repair or the surgeon will use arthroscopic repair tools that allow the surgery to happen inside the shoulder. Whichever occurs on your shoulder, soon your rotator cuff will be repaired. This will often require removing debris from the shoulder, making room for the cuff to move without pinching the tendon, or reattaching the tendon back to the bone.


Visit Your Therapist

No matter whether or not you needed surgery, a physical therapist plays a crucial role in regaining use of your rotator cuff. You need to see a therapist for personalized exercises to rehabilitate your shoulder and prevent atrophy. Physical rehabilitation is a very important part of rotator cuff repair and recovery.