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Can My Rotator Cuff Tear Heal on Its Own?

Can My Rotator Cuff Tear Heal on Its Own?

Rotator cuff tears can be painful and even debilitating for some. If you have such an injury or have unexplained pain in your shoulder, it’s important that you schedule a diagnostic evaluation with an orthopedic specialist like David Dickerson, MD at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.

Without the right care, a rotator cuff tear may not heal correctly, increasing your risk for a more complicated injury and possibly a disability.

What to know about your rotator cuff

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles that join into a tendon to form a cuff over the top of your upper arm bone (humerus). This bone is part of your shoulder, a joint that gives you the ability to move your arm in a variety of ways.

The rotator cuff also stabilizes the ball of your joint, keeping it in place within your shoulder. Overall, it’s because of your rotator cuff that you can lift your hand over your head, reach behind your back, and throw a ball.

Causes of rotator cuff tears

There are several causes of rotator cuff tears. Often, people who fall on their shoulder or suffer another type of direct-impact injury experience tears in the muscles that make up the rotator cuff.

You may also be susceptible to tears in the rotator cuff muscles if you overuse your shoulder during exercise or sports. Working in a job that requires repetitive arm and shoulder movements is another leading cause of rotator cuff tears.

A common sign of a rotator cuff injury is pain at the front of your shoulder, which can also radiate down the side of your arm. This pain may worsen if you try to lift your arm overhead or when you sleep on the injured shoulder.

In addition to pain, rotator cuff tears can cause weakness in your arm that makes it difficult for you to grasp items in your hand. Arm weakness can also affect your ability to wash your hair or scratch your back.

Healing your rotator cuff

When you learn you have a rotator cuff injury, the first question you may ask is whether or not you need surgery. This isn’t an easy question to answer, because it depends on the severity of your tear and how it impacts your life.

People who need surgery typically have a severe tear or rupture in the muscles of the rotator cuff, or if you have recurrent tear injuries. Surgery to repair the damaged tissue is likely the only way to fully heal your rotator cuff and reduce your persistent shoulder pain. Dr. Dickerson also specializes in advanced joint preservation surgery to restore function in your shoulder joint.

You may not need surgery if the muscle tears are minor. We offer several nonsurgical therapies that support healing of torn rotator cuffs. Your treatment plan may include total rest of the shoulder joint in addition to:

We use the diagnostic testing services we offer on-site to accurately confirm your diagnosis. Once Dr. Dickerson understands the nature of your rotator cuff tear, he customizes a treatment plan to relieve your pain and ensure you heal fully.

Find out which rotator cuff treatment is a good fit for you by calling Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine  or by booking a consultation online.

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