Partial Rotator Cuff Tears: When Is Surgery Indicated Orthopedics Today, May 2010?

When does a partial rotator cuff tear need surgery?

When does a partial rotator cuff tear need surgery? It is very uncommon to operate on a partial rotator cuff tear. In cases of deep partial tears — when more than 90 percent of the tendon is torn — surgery is recommended only if the symptoms can’t be controlled with nonsurgical treatments.

Do partial thickness tears of the rotator cuff need to be repaired?

Most partial thickness tears are a normal part of the aging process and do not need surgery. If more conservative treatments are not working to relieve your symptoms, then surgery may be appropriate. Deciding whether or not a repair is necessary is usually made at the time of surgery.

When should a rotator cuff tear be repaired?

Rotator cuff tears usually produce symptoms of weakness and pain especially on trying to lift the arm. When an acute injury results in a rotator cuff tear consideration should be given to a surgical repair within six weeks of the injury to avoid atrophy of the muscle and tendon.

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How long can you wait for rotator cuff surgery?

The bottom line is that based on these studies, 6 months appears to a reasonable timeline within which to repair the rotator cuff and optimize one’s outcome. When delayed, there is often progression in tear size and a decreased biologic potential for healing.

What happens if a torn tendon is not repaired?

If left untreated, eventually it can result in other foot and leg problems, such as inflammation and pain in the ligaments in the soles of your foot (plantar faciitis), tendinitis in other parts of your foot, shin splints, pain in your ankles, knees and hips and, in severe cases, arthritis in your foot.

Can partial tear rotator cuff heal itself?

Even though most tears cannot heal on their own, good function can often be achieved without surgery. If, however, you are active and use your arm for overhead work or sports, then surgery is most often recommended because many tears will not heal without surgery.

Can a partial rotator cuff tear become a full tear?

Some older scientific studies show that nearly 50 percent of partial thickness tears can progress to full thickness rotator cuff tears, however, more recent studies call that into question.

What should I avoid with a supraspinatus tear?

Avoid any extreme ranges of motion in your shoulders. Exercises like behind-the-neck shoulder presses, upright rows, or any exercises that require you to use your upper arms behind your torso. When attempting any exercises with an injured shoulder, make sure you keep your range of motion limited to what’s comfortable.

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What should you not do with a rotator cuff injury?

Avoid sleeping on your side with your arm stretched overhead. Try not to lie on your shoulder while you sleep. Don’t smoke as it decreases blood flow to the rotator cuff. Avoid activities with repetitive overhead arm action.

Does a torn rotator cuff hurt all the time?

Rotator cuff tendon tears often cause pain at night. The pain may even wake you. During the day, the pain is more tolerable, and usually only hurts with certain movements, such as overhead or reaching toward the back. Over time, the symptoms become much worse, and are not relieved by medicines, rest, or exercise.

What percentage of rotator cuff surgeries fail?

Past studies have shown up to 75% of people following a rotator cuff repair will technically “fail” if you define surgical failure as the cuff is not intact again after surgery. A recent systematic review published in JOSPT reported a failure rate between 18% and 40% over 10 different research reports.

How can I make my rotator cuff heal faster?

5 Tips to Speed Your Recovery from Rotator Cuff Surgery

  1. Wear your shoulder immobilizer or sling.
  2. Participate in physical therapy.
  3. Eliminate pain medication as quickly as possible.
  4. Avoid certain shoulder positions and arm movements.
  5. Don’t rush your recovery.

What happens if you don’t have surgery for a torn rotator cuff?

Without any treatment—either rest and rehabilitation or surgery—rotator cuff disorders may get worse. Over time, you may have more pain. You may lose range of motion and strength in your shoulder, making it harder to do your daily activities.

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Is a torn rotator cuff a disability?

Rotator cuff tears can severely limit a person’s range of motion, which may qualify them for disability benefits based on their inability to work. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include: Recurring pain when using your shoulder (e.g., lifting, pushing, etc.)

What is the best pain relief for a torn rotator cuff?

Stop doing what caused the pain and try to avoid painful movements. Limit heavy lifting or overhead activity until your shoulder pain subsides. Icing your shoulder may help it feel better. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) also may be helpful.

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