Rotator cuff tears may be caused by an injury due to a fall or lifting a heavy object. However, many tears are the result of tendon degeneration over time, which occur with wear and age. People who do overhead activities and repetitive lifting, like painters and carpenters, are at risk for rotator cuff tears. Athletes, especially baseball and tennis players, are also at greater risk.
It is important to seek medical evaluation from a sports medicine doctor or orthopedic specialist if you have chronic shoulder pain. While rotator cuff tears commonly heal on their own, some tears can worsen over time. If your doctor determines you have a rotator cuff tear, there are several nonsurgical treatment options that may be considered. These methods can include medications, activity changes, steroid injections and physical therapy.
These options include; rest, heat, medication, physical therapy and cortisone shots.
If your shoulder pain and weakness do not improve with nonsurgical methods, your doctor may recommend surgery to reattach and repair the torn rotator cuff tendon. The type of surgery your doctor decides is best will depend on several factors, including the size of the tear and quality of the tendon tissue. There are generally three types of rotator cuff repair procedures – traditional open repair, arthroscopic repair and mini-open repair.