What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
A rotator cuff tear or injury is an injury to the group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. The group is often confused with other names but is simply known as the rotator cuff. When there is an injury or tear it is to the tendons. These tendons are what connects the muscles to the bone.
What are the causes of a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The specific cause of a rotator cuff tear can vary greatly but there are some broader categories that fall in:
- Chronic or progressive degeneration
- Chronic or repetitive shoulder activity or lifting
- Acute work or sports activities
What are the signs and symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?
Pain and weakness are generally the primary signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff tear. This can be constant or aggravated with movement. Some specific signs to look for are:
- Disturbance to sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder
- Difficulty combing your hair or reaching behind your back
What are risk factors of a Rotator Cuff Tear?
Most risk factors for a rotator cuff tear or injury are unavoidable. But generally, they can be related to:
- Family History
What are possible treatments for a Rotator Cuff Tear?
A possible treatment (non-invasive) to address a rotator cuff tear/injury are physical therapy, steroid injections and rest. When those are not helping return strength or alleviate pain surgery for a rotator cuff repair may be necessary.
Are there preventative steps or measures to avoid a Rotator Cuff Tear?
Some preventative steps are exercise, stretching, and awareness of weight being put on the shoulder.
What are the risks if a Rotator Cuff Tear is left untreated?
Risks if left untreated are mostly centered around prolonged pain, weakness and loss of function.