How is torn rotator cuff treated?
A torn rotator cuff may heal on its own but can benefit from pain management, reducing inflammation, and physical therapy. If the tear is small and not excessively painful, treatments that include rest, a sling, and anti-inflammatory medications may be adequate for improving shoulder function. More serious cases of torn rotator cuff may require surgery.
Surgery for torn rotator cuff
Rotator cuff surgery is often an outpatient procedure. Advances in medical science have made minimally invasive (arthroscopic) surgery possible, although large rotator cuff tears may still require open surgery. Surgeries to treat torn rotator cuff include:
- Full replacement of the shoulder joint
- Surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff
Other treatments for torn rotator cuff
In addition to surgery, or in cases where the tear is not severe, other treatments for torn rotator cuff may improve shoulder function. Such treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Steroid medications
- Supportive sling
What you can do to improve your torn rotator cuff
You may be able to improve the outcome of your torn rotator cuff treatment by:
- Doing the shoulder exercises as prescribed by your physician or physical therapist
- Resting your shoulder if it is in pain
- Stretching your shoulder
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
- Using hot or cold compresses
Some complementary treatments may help some people in their efforts to deal with torn rotator cuff. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.
Complementary treatments may include:
- Massage therapy
What are the potential complications of torn rotator cuff?
After experiencing a torn rotator cuff, it is important to maintain joint mobility in order to prevent complications. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled torn rotator cuff can be serious. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of torn rotator cuff include:
- Inability to participate normally in activities
- Inability to perform daily tasks
- Joint deformity and destruction
- Severe discomfort or pain
Rotator cuff tears. AAOS: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00064. Accessed May 10, 2011.
Rotator cuff tendinitis. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000438.htm. Accessed May 10, 2011.
What is torn rotator cuff?
Torn rotator cuff refers to damage to one of the four muscles that allow the arm to rotate at the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears can also affect the tendons that hold these muscles together. Generally, a torn rotator cuff is the result of repetitive use, but it can occur as a single traumatic injury.... Read more about torn rotator cuff introduction
What are the symptoms of torn rotator cuff?
Symptoms of torn rotator cuff include pain, an inability to move the shoulder, and swelling.... Read more about torn rotator cuff symptoms
What causes torn rotator cuff?
Torn rotator cuff can be an acute (sudden) injury or a repetitive use (gradual) injury. Acute injuries may occur during strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or sports, or may be due to an accident. More commonly, the rotator cuff will tear as a result of repetitive use, such as with frequent overhead lifting. In these cases, the muscles or tendons of the rotator cuff develop wear and tear over time. Athletes who frequently engage their rotator cuff, such as baseball players, have an increased risk of injury.... Read more about torn rotator cuff causes