Greensboro Orthopaedics is now EmergeOrtho Triad Region
Shoulder Care

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment

Specializing in Comprehensive Diagnosis and Treatment of the Rotator Cuff

A torn rotator cuff is a fairly common injury, as well as a painful one. These tears can occur as either a partial, or total tear, which may or may not require surgical treatment depending upon the severity of the individual case.

Basic Shoulder Anatomy

The rotator cuff itself is made up of four muscles that together form a single cuff of the tendon that connects to the head of the humerus. This cuff is what allows the shoulder to move around in all directions.

Much of the movement that our arms make is determined by the rotator cuff, which is why injuries to this area can be particularly painful. Even a task as simple as lifting your arm above your head would be impossible with a torn rotator cuff.

Potential Causes of a Rotator Cuff Tear

In reality, there is an immeasurable number of ways in which a person could injure their rotator cuff. However, most often, a torn rotator cuff occurs from:

  • Repetitive Motions
  • Multiple injuries to the rotator cuff
  • Heavy lifting
  • Falling onto the arm or shoulder
  • Athletic activities, especially those involving lots of shoulder movement like tennis or baseball
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome

Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff

Some people that suffer a rotator cuff tear will not experience any pain, but this is not often the case. Typically, individuals will notice symptoms that gradually worsen over the course of a few days or weeks.

At first, the pain will likely radiate from the front of the shoulder before spreading down the arm. This pain will become more intense when the arm is lifted or lowered and may even begin to disrupt your sleep.

In cases of more severe injury, the pain will be immediate. It will also be instantly difficult for the person to move their shoulder joint in any way as there is no longer anything holding the shoulder muscles to the bone.

Diagnosis of a Shoulder Injury

Because shoulder injuries may vary on a case-by-case basis, your doctor will need to perform an X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or a combination of these imaging tests in order to determine the full extend of damage that has been done to the rotator cuff.

Treatment Options

Not all rotator cuff tears will require surgery. Adequate rest, physical therapy, and pain medications may be enough for some tears to heal on their own, but if the injury does not improve over a significant period of time then surgery is likely the best option.

Like the diagnosis process, discussions regarding surgery for a rotator cuff repair will need to be individualized for the exact patient and their exact injury. Fortunately, recent achievements in the healthcare industry have allowed surgical procedures to become incredibly advanced, leading to less recovery time for patients.

See One of Our Specialists in Greensboro

To speak with a orthopedic specialists about your rotator cuff injury, or ways that you can prevent future damage to your shoulders, please contact Greensboro Orthopaedics at to schedule an appointment at (336) 545-5000 at our area office located in Greensboro.

Shoulder Specialist(s)

With access to supreme sub-specialty care and state-of-the-art diagnostic technology, patients suffering from shoulder injuries and conditions, can return to an active life at Greensboro Orthopaedics. Call 336.545.5001 to schedule an appointment with one of our shoulder physicians.