What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

May 8, 2024
OrthoNJ

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

A torn rotator cuff can significantly impact mobility and daily life activities. This group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder plays a crucial role in stabilizing the joint and facilitating various arm movements. When these tissues are injured, whether through trauma, overuse, or degeneration, they can lead to shoulder pain (rotator cuff pain), weakness, and limitations in movement.

woman with rotator cuff tear holding her shoulder

Simple tasks like reaching overhead, lifting objects, or even sleeping comfortably can become challenging with a rotator cuff tear. The pain and discomfort that come with this injury can disrupt your ability to perform routine activities, affecting not only your physical well-being but also your quality of life.

Let's explore what a rotator cuff tear is, how to recognize its symptoms, and when to seek help from one of our orthopedic specialists. We'll also discuss common treatment options, including both non-surgical and surgical approaches, to help you regain function and alleviate pain.


Why Choose an OrthoNJ Doctor for Your Rotator Cuff Tear Care?

OrthoNJ is different from your typical medical provider. Unlike many in the industry, we prioritize patient care over profits. Our six divisions work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. We believe in the "Power to Put Patients First," our doctors and divisional partners strive to uphold this commitment to our patients in every aspect of our medical care.

  • With over 120 fantastic physicians, all board-certified, board-qualified, or fellowship-trained, OrthoNJ offers top-tier expertise across a wide range of specialties.
  • We serve over 250 communities throughout New Jersey, providing treatment and continuing care for various orthopedic needs.
  • With more than 30 statewide offices, our reach extends across the entire state. Whether in North Jersey, South Jersey, or anywhere between, OrthoNJ proudly serves you.
  • We have a team of dedicated shoulder & elbow specialists.

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What is a Torn Rotator Cuff?

A torn rotator cuff occurs when the muscles or tendons in the shoulder become damaged or detached from the bone. Injury, overuse, or degenerative conditions commonly cause this injury.

Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms:

  • Persistent shoulder pain, especially during arm movements
  • Weakness in your shoulder, likely making it difficult for you to perform daily activities
  • Discomfort when sleeping on the affected side
  • Limited range of motion, particularly when reaching overhead or behind the back
  • Clicking or popping sensations in your shoulder joint
man with shoulder pain from rotator cuff tear holding his shoulder with his opposing hand

When to See an Orthopaedic Specialist for a Rotator Cuff Tear:

If you experience severe or prolonged rotator cuff pain or any of the other symptoms, it is crucial to seek care from one of our orthopedic specialists. Our team prioritizes patients first and will work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan for your specific treatment needs.

Treatments for a Rotator Cuff Tear

A man with rotator cuff tear orthopedic doctor holding his shoulder and elbow examining him.

How Long Does it Take for a Rotator Cuff Tear to Heal Without Surgery?

Recovery time for a torn rotator cuff without surgery varies. How to heal a torn rotator cuff naturally depends on the severity of the tear and individual factors. Rest, physical therapy, and other conservative treatments may improve minor tears within four to six weeks. However, larger tears or those that fail to respond to non-surgical interventions may require surgery for full recovery.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for a Rotator Cuff Tear:

OrthoNJ offers a range of non-surgical treatments to alleviate your rotator cuff pain and promote healing, including rest, physical therapy, and steroid injections. Our physicians will work closely with you to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery as a Last Resort:

Your doctor may recommend surgery if non-surgical treatments do not provide relief or if the rotator cuff tear is severe. We have experienced orthopedic surgeons specialized in shoulders who are skilled in rotator cuff repair procedures and strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Remember, at OrthoNJ, we prioritize your well-being above all else. If you're experiencing shoulder pain or suspect a torn rotator cuff, don't hesitate to contact us for expert care and personalized treatment. We have six divisions, from North Jersey to South Jersey, providing exceptional orthopaedic care to the residents of New Jersey and neighboring states.

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