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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.
Acute tears usually occur in events where the arm is aggressively stretched and results in intense shoulder or upper arm pain.
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.
Signs and Symptoms
Weakness when raising an object
Crepitus when moving shoulder
Pain when raising or lowering arm
Night pain or trouble sleeping
Shoulder shrug when raising arm
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.
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.
Athwal, G, Armstrong, A, Fischer, S, & Wiater, J.M. (2017, March). Rotator Cuff Tears. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/rotator-cuff-tears/
Cluett, J. (2020, April 18). What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?. https://www.verywellhealth.com/rotator-cuff-tears-2549783
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