Treatment of rotator cuff
disorders should begin soon after an injury or soon after symptoms develop, to give you
the best chance of restoring flexibility and strength to your shoulder. Without
treatment, inflammation and tears can build up, causing pain, weakness, and loss of function.
depends on your symptoms, age, and activity level, and on whether your
symptoms appear to be related to a rotator cuff injury.
Surgery often is
used to repair a torn rotator cuff in a healthy young person, because good
results are more likely if there is little or no evidence of degeneration or
People who have advanced rotator cuff
disorders and tendons that are tough, stringy (fibrous), and stiff usually
respond less well to surgery. Surgery may successfully repair the tear, but it
can't repair all the damage caused by age or degeneration.
But surgery may be considered if:
You have a rotator cuff tear caused by a sudden injury.
Your shoulder doesn't get better after 3 to 6 months of other treatment.
Recovery from a rotator cuff disorder varies with each
person. Your physical therapy and home exercise program should continue
until your shoulder is as strong and flexible as possible. Some treatments for
rotator cuff disorders can last up to a year. Most people can return to their
previous activities after several weeks of rehabilitation.
Experts have differing opinions about treating rotator cuff tears.
Some prefer nonsurgical treatment for people
older than 60. But other experts believe that the sooner a rotator cuff
tear is surgically repaired, the better the chance of a successful outcome,
regardless of age.
Some believe that small tears do not need surgery. Other experts feel that small tears should be repaired early to prevent further tearing.