Rotator Cuff Tear


Nonsurgical Options

A minor injury to the rotator cuff often heals on its own, with proper care.
If you think you've injured your rotator cuff, try these steps:

  • Rest your shoulder. Stop doing what caused the pain and try to avoid painful movements. Don't lift anything heavy or use your arm above your head for 1 week until your shoulder starts to feel better.
  • Take pain relieving medications. Over-the-counter pain relieving medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help reduce pain and inflammation. Follow label directions and stop taking the drugs when the pain improves.
  • Exercises. After one or two days of rest, gently start moving your shoulder. Keeping your arm immobilized for prolonged periods can lead to a stiff shoulder. After the pain settles down, daily shoulder stretches and a balanced shoulder-strengthening program can help prevent a recurrence of your injury.

Exercises and Physiotherapy. Most of the time, rotator cuff injuries can be improved by physiotherapy and exercies. A physiotherapist can talk to you about specific exercises designed to help heal your injury, improve the flexibility of your rotator cuff and shoulder muscles, and provide balanced shoulder muscle strength. Depending on the severity of your injury, physiotherapy may take several months.

Steroid and Local Anaesthetic injections. An injection of local anaestheitc and corticosteroid injection can relieve your inflammation and pain. Having an injection and physiotherapy is an effective way of reducing the pain of rotator cuff tears.


If your pain is not improved with rest, exercises, physiotherapy and injections, then surgery may be a good option for you.

Rotator Cuff Repair. A rotator cuff repair is surgery to repairs the torn rotator cuff tendon back into the humerus. During the surgery, the surgeon often removes a inflammed bursa and a bone spur from the acromion (a proceduce called a subacromial decompression). If needed, a surgeon can also perform a:

  • biceps tenodesis or tenotomy
  • shoulder arthroscopy
  • AC joint excision
A Rotator Cuff Tear viewed from inside the shoulder joint with a special camera called an Arthroscope
A Rotator Cuff Tear viewed from inside the shoulder joint with a special camera called an Arthroscope

Shoulder Replacement. Some patients with a long standing large rotator cuff tear can develop osteoarthritis of the shoulder.

This is called rotator cuff arthropathy.

Your surgeon may suggest a shoulder replacement if your osteoarthritis is severe.






28 April, 2012