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Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator Cuff Tear


Rotator cuff is a group muscles which surrounds the shoulder joint. It stabilizes shoulder joint and moves arm in various directions.

Rotator cuff injuries are common. Frequently occurs in age > 50 as tendons degenerate due to wear and tear over the time.

Often it develops with fall or trauma, but sometimes it can occur with trivial trauma like lifting or throwing.


  • MRI – it is an investigation of choice which shows extent of tear, muscle condition and retraction so that appropriate treatment can be planned.
  • Ultrasound – Cuff tear can be diagnosed with ultrasound.
  • X ray – Cuff is not seen in x ray but Proximal migration of humeral head or acromial spur can be seen


  • Rest
  • Activity modification
  • Medicines – takes care of pain
  • Physical therapy – specific exercises helps in restoring function of shoulder
  • Surgical repair –
  • Torn full thickness rotator cuff needs to be repaired surgically. Surgery can be done as open repair or as arthroscopic repair.


Yes, it is a major surgery.

It can take 4-6 months for recovery it depends on extent of tear, age and other factors.

Full thickness tear unlikely heals on own.

If untreated, rotator cuff tear can restrict function and movements. Tear can progresses and increase in size.

Yes, Physiotherapy is important part in recovery.  Specific exercises are recommended for better and timely recovery of shoulder function.