What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that lift and rotate the arm, and stabilize the shoulder joint. The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor originate from the scapula and attach to the head of the humerus.
What causes rotator cuff tears, and how do I know if I have one?
Rotator cuff tears can be caused by an acute injury, such as sports or a fall, or just by normal wear and tear associated with age. In the case of an acute injury, you may feel a “snap” or immediate sharp pain, accompanied by a weakness in the arm. For age-related rotator cuff tears, you may feel pain radiating down the side of the arm especially when you lift your arm overhead. Your arm may feel weak, and you may experience pain when sleeping on it. Rotator cuff injuries can get worse over time if left untreated.
Diagnosing Rotator Cuff Tears
Even if your injury seems minor, it’s best to book an appointment to ensure your condition does not worsen. We may recommend diagnostic imaging such as an MRI or ultrasound.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears
Many rotator cuff tears, particularly if caught early, can be treated without surgery with anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy. These options will relieve pain and restore strength, achieving good function without surgery. However, many tears will not heal on their own – if you are active or require a lot of overhead reaching for sports or work, surgery may be recommended.
Rotator Cuff Surgery
If your symptoms do not improve with non-surgical options, surgery may be recommended. Depending on each unique situation, we offer arthroscopic surgery, mini-open repair surgery, and traditional open repair surgery.