Rotator Cuff Tear

 

A rotator cuff tear is a tear of one or more of the four tendons connecting the rotator cuff muscles to bone around the shoulder joint.

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Cause

Acute Tear

Acute tears usually occur in events where the arm is aggressively stretched and results in intense shoulder or upper arm pain.

Chronic Tear

Chronic tears are a result of normal wear and tear. They are more common in elders and pain may absent or occur during use only.

Classification

Signs and Symptoms

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Weakness when raising an object

Crepitus when moving shoulder

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Pain when raising or lowering arm

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Night pain or trouble sleeping

Shoulder shrug when raising arm

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Diagnosis

A comprehensive physical exam is done in clinic. The exam consists of tests that measure pain, range of motion and strength of the rotator cuff muscles.

If the findings on the physical exam are indicative of a rotator cuff injury a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may be ordered for confirmation.

Treatment

Every patient has a unique treatment plan that is based on their individual clinical and radiographic findings and may include one or more of the following modalities.

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