What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?


A rotator cuff tear is a typical injury in sports, such as baseball or tennis, or in jobs that require a repeated motion. This is a normal wear and tear injury and occurs when you repeat a motion on the same arm over and over again. Although, this injury can also occur if you have a sudden fall on your arm.

We group rotator cuff tears into two types, a partial tear, and a complete tear. A partial tear is when you damage a tendon that shields the top of your shoulder. A complete tear either tears the tendon off of the bone or goes completely through the tendon. A complete tear and a partial tear are always noticeable, due to you being able to feel the tear immediately when the incident occurs.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear:

The number one symptom for a rotator cuff tear is that you can feel the tear when it occurs. In some cases, you might experience the following:

  • Feel pain when you move your arm in certain ways or lie on it
  • Have trouble raising your arm
  • Be unable to lift things like you normally do
  • Have weakness in your shoulder
  • Hear clicking or popping when you move your arm

If any of the above-mentioned signs occur seek medical attention. A rotator cuff which goes untreated can lead to very serious complications over time.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment:

A typical treatment for a rotator cuff injury is to first strengthen your shoulder muscles with physical therapy. Medications and anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered for a short time to help deal with pain and swelling. In some instances, surgery is a requirement.

If physical therapy and medications fail to work, you may need to explore surgery as an option. If it is a complete tear, this is more advisable and common. It is typical for a surgeon to stitch together the torn area or reattach the tendon to the bone.

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgical Options:

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair:  A small incision is made and then an arthroscope is inserted into the cut with tiny tools to fix the tear. This option comes with less downtown and a smaller scar.

Open repair: Utilizing larger instruments than the arthroscopic repair, your surgeon will enter and repair the tear.

Mini-open repair: This method uses both arthroscopic and open repair techniques. The surgeon starts with an arthroscope and ends with larger tools and a larger incision.


For a preferred rotator cuff repair specialist in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs or Plantation, contact our office today at 888-409-8006.