Rotator Cuff Tear

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles attaching the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). It is essential to almost all shoulder movements. A rotator cuff tear arises when the tendon attaching shoulder muscles to the upper arm bone becomes detached. Tears can be partial or full tears, and ultimately, such an injury may require rotator cuff tear surgery.

What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

A rotator cuff tear may arise from:

  • Repetitive stress, for example from sports such as tennis or rowing
  • Specific injury to the shoulder
  • The effects of ageing such as chronic wear and tear, bone spurs or diminished blood supply

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Patients may experience a range of symptoms and varying degrees of discomfort. These symptoms can include:

  • Pain experienced in the joint and upper arm when moving the shoulder, particularly with overhead movements
  • Weakness and stiffness when lifting or rotating the arm
  • A crackling sensation when moving the shoulder
  • Pain at rest and at night which disrupts sleep patterns

How is The Condition Diagnosed?

Mr Soong Chua will begin with your medical history and a physical examination to assess pain and range of movement. Imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasound or an MRI scan may also be carried out to assess further damage.

What are the Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment Options?

Mr Chua will consider a range of treatment options, including:

  • Restand/or Activity modification
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen)
  • Strengthening exercises and physiotherapy– Strengthening the muscles that support your shoulder to relieve pain and help prevent further injury.
  • Steroid injection– to reduce inflammation.
  • Surgical Rotator Cuff Repair – if non-invasive treatments are not effective or sufficient for your situation, Mr Soong Chua may recommend surgery.

Other Conditions

Not sure where to start? Give us a call us on (03) 9928 6188.