Health blog

Do I need surgery for a partial rotator cuff tear?

January 7th, 2021
partial rotator cuff tear

Your shoulders are incredibly powerful and complex joints that are capable of moving in a wide range of motion. Not only do the shoulders move so freely for a variety of activities, but they also help keep your arms connected to the rest of your body. 

This is all primarily done through the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments in each shoulder that connect the bones of your upper arms to the bones of your upper body. Because the rotator cuffs are so busy, it’s not uncommon for them to become sore or stiff after a lot of hard work or physical activity. However, prolonged pain in the rotator cuff may be related to something more serious, such as a rotator cuff tear.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A torn rotator cuff occurs when one of the muscles in the rotator cuff tears under stress or a traumatic injury. There are two types of tears: a total rupture and a partial rotator cuff tear.

Surgery is almost always required to repair a totally ruptured rotator cuff, but this is more rare than a partial rotator cuff tear. In these circumstances, a small part of the muscle has torn and the majority remains intact. For a partial rotator cuff tear, your doctor may recommend surgery if it’s the best option for you, but usually, you can recover with physical therapy instead.

Treating a partial rotator cuff tear with physical therapy

Physical therapists are capable of examining your shoulder and developing a course of treatment to help manage the pain, improve your range of motion and prevent future tears. Treatments differ from patient to patient depending on their specific needs and the cause and severity of the tear, but generally, they include:

  • Stretches and exercises for improving strength and flexibility.
  • Gentle hands-on therapy for reducing pain and breaking down scar tissue.
  • Posture guidance for reducing unnecessary strain on the shoulder.
  • Patient education for how to perform certain activities safely while your shoulder recovers.

Visit Rehab Access today for partial rotator cuff tear treatment

Do you have a partial rotator cuff tear that is causing prolonged pain and stiffness in your shoulder? Our physical therapists at Rehab Access can examine your shoulder and develop a personalized treatment routine to help you reach your recovery goals. Contact our team today for more information about partial rotator cuff tears or to schedule an initial appointment