Will my rotator cuff tear heal without surgery?

rotator cuff tear

UNE déchirure de la coiffe des rotateurs is a common shoulder injury that affects approximately two million people a year in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of the supporting tendons tears from the arm bone.

Now, hearing that your tendon is torn may make you think you’ll need surgery to fix it. But this is not necessarily the case. Many rotator cuff tears respond well to non-surgical treatment and do not require surgery.

An overview of rotator cuff tears

Rotator cuff tears can be partial or complete. A complete tear occurs when the tendon completely separates from the arm bone.

What Causes Rotator Cuff Tears? Sharp tears are often caused by accidents like a car accident, a bad fall, or a sports accident . Many tears happen slowly over time due to age, overuse, and gradual wear and tear. Older people and people who perform repetitive overhead lifts (such as construction workers, painters, tennis players, or baseball players) are at a higher risk of developing a rotator cuff tear.

Pain when raising the arm or moving the arm away from the body

Weak arms and shoulders

Without treatment, rotator cuff tears will get worse and bigger over time, so it’s important to see your doctor if you have persistent symptoms. Not everyone suffers from a rotator cuff injury, but the majority of people have some degree of weakness and loss of range of motion.

Non-surgical treatment options

Rest and changes in activity. You will be encouraged to avoid activities that make your pain and symptoms worse, such as going overhead.

Médicaments. Pain relievers like acetaminophen or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) can relieve mild to moderate pain.

Thérapie physique. Physiotherapy is a crucial part of non-surgical treatment. Targeted therapy and exercises will help you regain strength, range of motion, and flexibility in the affected shoulder.

Injection of corticosteroids. If the above treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend an injection containing an anesthetic combined with corticosteroids.

Remember to follow your doctor’s instructions for resuming exercise, sports, and other physical activities. Using your injured shoulder too soon and too frequently can make a rotator cuff tear worse.

Surgical treatment

What if you’ve tried all of the treatments listed above and you’re still experiencing shoulder pain, stiffness and loss of motion? At this point, your doctor can discuss surgical options with you.

Additionally, your doctor may recommend surgery if you have a job or play a sport that requires frequent use of the shoulder.

With the help of physiotherapy, many people regain function and strength within four to six months.

Treat your shoulder pain with BEST Surgery and Therapies

BEST offers a one-stop solution for Orthopedic and Spine Care, Pain Management, Sports Medicine, Urgent Orthopedic Care and Ambulatory Surgery. Our unique care model integrates all the services and treatments our patients need, including imaging, personalized treatment plans, innovative pain management procedures, physiotherapy, and orthopedic and spine surgery.

If you have persistent shoulder pain, do not wait any longer to consult a doctor. Please call us to speak to a dedicated Patient Experience Coordinator

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