Your doctor tells you that you have a rotator cuff tear...now what?
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connect muscle to the top of your humerus at the shoulder. These tendons are important because they help give you the strength to be able to lift you arm as well as rotate it. You need your rotator cuff to be able to reach a lightbulb, swing a tennis racket, or even to scratch the back of your head.
Tears of these tendons can occur traumatically (due to an accident or injury), but what many people don’t realize is that they can exist with no symptoms at all. The latter is more common as individuals age. Up to 20% in their 50s-60s and one third to half of individuals in their 70s-80s can have a tear with no symptoms at all.
Do all tears NEED to be fixed? The answer is it depends! Not all tears necessarily need to be fixed. Surgeons will often observe tears that don’t show any symptoms. However, if individual has weakness or pain that isn’t relieved with non-surgical options, then surgery may be considered.
Talk to your orthopaedic surgeon about your shoulder for more insight on the best possible options.
For more reading online, go to https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/rotator-cuff-tears/